Posts for the 'Modern European' Category


Crocker’s Folly – Sunday Lunch

Crocker’s Folly in St John’s Wood was a thriving pub in its former life. Built in 1898, the beautiful Grade II* listed building fell into disrepair and sadly closed in 2004. By 2007 Crocker’s Folly had been placed on the Victorian Society’s list of top ten endangered buildings.

In 2014 The Maroush Group took ownership of Crocker’s Folly and lovingly restored it back to its former glory. Thus Crocker’s Folly was reborn, re-opening after a long ten-year absence. Many of the original aspects of the building have been maintained along with the addition of some beautiful bespoke features such as dazzling chandeliers, mahogany woodwork and the use of at least 50 kinds of marble. It’s a glorious restoration and beautifully done, with the finishing touches being some gorgeous imported Italian furniture. Crocker’s Folly now speaks of grandeur, but also with a relaxed and inviting tone.

Crocker’s Folly is divided into three sections – two separate bars and a dining room. Heading up the kitchen is Head Chef Arek Bober who previously worked under Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social. His Crocker’s Folly menu is modern European with a section specifically devoted to steaks cooked on the josper grill. On a Sunday, Crocker’s Folly offers a special set lunch menu with two-courses for £20 and three-courses for £25. It is also possible to order each dish individually and the prices listed below are the price per dish.

We started our lunch with a 62c egg with soft polenta (£10) which was delicious. The egg, slow cooked at 62c was soft-set in the centre with a beautifully golden yolk and it married well with the creaminess of the soft polenta. Completing the dish was a topping of lovely fresh truffle shavings, Parmesan cheese and a mushroom emulsion that added a nutty, earthy flavour to the combination.

Crocker’s Folly – 62c egg with parmesan & mushroom emulsion

62c egg with parmesan & mushroom emulsion

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One Canada Square

One Canada Square Restaurant and Bar is located in the north-eastern corner of the lobby of the iconic One Canada Square building, once the tallest building in the UK. The restaurant boasts an art deco inspired décor featuring two sweeping staircases, luxury leather furnishings and marble fittings that create a lavish corporate ambiance. The restaurant is split over the ground and mezzanine floors and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as bottomless Saturday brunches. The menu is Modern European, but for those not looking for a full meal, the bar area offers a bar menu as well as a diverse range of cocktails.

At first glance One Canada Square looks very corporate. However, as the restaurant area on the ground floor is neatly nestled behind the cocktail bar, helping to create a sense of intimacy. On Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant’s in-house pianist belts out some wonderful pop songs and old classics. We visited on a Friday night and the music was great, setting the tone for a lovely relaxed evening.

We started with some wild venison carpaccio which was delicious (£9). The meat was tender with some crispy fried slivers of artichoke providing a lovely crunchiness to the dish. There were also some touches of rosemary and a dash of truffle oil that created an aromatic finish.

One Canada Square - Venison carpaccio

Venison carpaccio

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Caxton Grill by Adam Handling

The Head Chef of Caxton Grill at the St Ermin’s Hotel, St James Park, is none other than Adam Handling. Remember him? If like me you were a big fan of Professional Masterchef, you would have probably been devastated when Adam failed to win the 2013 series. The ambitious and highly inspirational Scottish chef was probably the most deserved of the title, but unfortunately he failed to pull through on the day of the final. But onwards and upwards as not winning Masterchef hasn’t held Adam back. Not only is Adam the head chef of Caxton Grill, he was listed as one of the ‘30 under 30’ to watch in The Caterer & Hotelkeeper’s 2013 Acorn Awards and recently crowned as the British Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year, 2014.

Adam started his cooking career at the age of 16 at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. This was followed by positions at Rhodes 24, The Malmaison Hotel in Newcastle and the role of Head Chef at Fairmont St Andrews where he won two AA rosettes. At Caxton Grill, Adam cooks one part creative menu that is designed to excite, and another that is devoted to simple cooking of quality meats and fish from the Josper oven for more conventional palates. But in my view, if you are going to go to Caxton Grill, then a taste the creative inspiration that drives the ‘almost’ Masterchef winner is a must.

Our first interesting flavour experience was a breadbasket containing rye and bagel, and accompanied by a chicken butter with seaweed and mushroom. The rye was tasty, but the bagel was a dream with a centre that was lusciously soft, fluffy and wonderfully seasoned. The chicken butter consisted of 75% butter and 25% chicken fat and was supremely tasty with the seaweed providing the seasoning and the mushroom giving it an earthiness.

Caxton Grill - Bread

Bread

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Hedone

Much has already been said about Mikael Jonsson’s restaurant Hedone in Chiswick. An ex-blogger, he has gained notoriety in foodie circles as an ingredients expert who has spent many years meticulously researching produce. A trained chef originally, he switched careers to join the legal profession before switching back to his true love, food. The result is Hedone, which if nothing else, is interesting and thought provoking for what is essentially a debut restaurant.

The choice of location in Chiswick on the Gunnersbury border is a bold move. This makes it a restaurant you have to want to travel for, and on the whole it was worth the trip. The décor is modern, inviting and relaxed, with an open kitchen that adds a further interactive appeal to the dining room. The staff was enthusiastic, informative and helpful.

The menu is compact in choice and is priced according to the number of courses you order. There is also a 7 course tasting menu. We kicked off with a cheese biscuit appetiser with a raspberry topping. The biscuit was light and airy, and the raspberry was pleasant.

Cheese biscuit

Cheese biscuit

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Texture

I went to Texture Restaurant and Champagne Bar when it first opened in 2007. While I thought the food was good, I found it unremarkable for a fine dining restaurant. But since then, the word amongst foodie circles is that the food has evolved and is now fantastic. It also won a Michelin star last year, a fact which is also hard to ignore.

The restaurant is a collaborative effort between Icelandic Head Chef Agnar Sverrisson, and sommelier Xavier Rousset who won the UK Sommelier of the Year award at the age of 22. The two met when working at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons. Sverrisson has also held positions at other notable restaurants such as Pétrus (under Marcus Wareing) and at the Michelin-starred Lea Linster in Luxembourg. With his classic French training, the food at Texture is Modern European with an Icelandic influence. The look of the restaurant is also Icelandic cool, sleek and stylish. Texture also boasts of an impressive 88 bottle champagne collection, the day to day running of which is now maintained by sommelier, Erica, who was runner up in the Young Sommelier of the Year Competition. Xavier is still co-owner of Texture, but now spends more time at his other venture, 28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen.

We selected the tasting menu for £68 (although on Texture’s website this is stated as £59). An appetiser of assorted diced vegetables with celery infusion and olive oil was stunning. The flavour of the celery was delicate and light, and the tiny diced vegetables were perfectly cooked. Who knew an infusion made from celery could be so naturally sweet and tasty?

Diced vegetables with celery infusion

Diced vegetables with celery infusion

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