We started off bar snacking with pork fat chips (£4.5). The hand-cut chips weren’t oily and the sprinkling of pork scratching was a nice touch (just beware of the occasional super hard bits). It was served with a ketchup made of blended chorizo, tomatoes, and spices.
G loves her deep-fried battered squid so there was no escaping the chipirones (£4.5). Served with capers and a crispy sage leaf, a wedge of lemon and a pot of what I think is mild aioli, it’s a smaller serve than Barrafina’s but is less oily.
I’m not too huge on tomatoes which is why I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the heirloom tomato and kohlrabi salad (£5.5). Adorned with capers, chopped shallots and smoked almonds, this was yet another simple dish that’s refreshingly smart.
The stuffed courgette flowers (£4.5/piece) did not disappoint. The delicate flavour of the vegetable marries well with the tangy, creamy goat cheese and the drizzled honey binds the whole thing together. A menage-a-trois gone right, I could easily eat three of these in one sitting.
Octopus (£9) is one of those things I always order if it appears on the menu. It’s steamed then chargrilled (over sweet chestnut and plum charcoal this summer) at Ember Yard. It has a slight chew which makes me think it’s not massaged, but it works and I like it very much. The mojo verde aioli heightens the smoky flavours but the sweet and sour peperonata balances it out.
I also ordered the chargrilled squid with pancetta, peas and chilli (£7). The squid was nicely cooked, its natural sweetness blending well with the pea puree. I couldn’t eat the pancetta as it was Meatless Monday (such a shame because bacon and peas make such an awesome palate party). We had two of these and my friends said the dish works amazingly well as a whole.
We had two servings of parsnip-buttermilk chips with manchego (£6) because it was, plainly put, yum.
The hot smoked butternut squash (£6.5) was a bit dry but tasty. I like that it was kept simple, served with dollops of goat curd and grape “jam”.
As mentioned, it was Meatless Monday so there were a few dishes I didn’t get to try (but will come back for as they were meant to be awesome).
This is, apparently, one of London’s best dishes of 2013.
The white chocolate mousse with pickled nectarines, honeycomb and mint (£6) was a creamy, fruity, sweet delight. I’ve never had pickled nectarines and was pleasantly surprised.
60 Berwick Street London W1F | +44(0)207 439 8057
Ave spend pp: £40 (with wine)