Posted on Thursday, 28th June 2012
Our visit to The Henry Root was a bit of a surprise visit. We were meant to be eating at Elleven Park Walk, an Italian restaurant (on 11 Park Walk in West Brompton), but a power failure at the restaurant meant that we turned up only to discover that there was no food to be had. The restaurant was nice enough to comp us a glass of champagne for the inconvenience, but thereafter there was no point staying. 11 Park Walk use to be the home of Aubergine, a Michelin-starred restaurant that closed in 2010. I had a disastrous meal at Aubergine in 2009 and it was just as well it closed as it seemed to be on its last legs. Two times unlucky. This address must surely be jinxed for me.
Anyway, that is how we ended up at The Henry Root which is right next door at 9 Park Walk. Named after the pseudonym of writer and satirist Charles William Donaldson, The Henry Root must be the most darling of neighbourhood restaurants that you could ever hope to come across. Homely and cosy are the words that immediately spring to mind when you enter The Henry Root. Warm subtle tones run throughout the restaurant which is wonderfully light and airy. Good use has been made of the space and the dining area feels quite roomy.
The menu was a more accomplished read than I had initially expected. I thought its style would be more café-type food, but instead we were presented with dishes like seared scallops with grilled chorizo, roasted red peppers and sweet basil (£10). The scallops were beautifully cooked, and there was a real depth of meaty spicy flavour coming through from the chorizo. However, the chorizo was a touch overpowering against the delicacy of the scallops. The peppers were also well done, proving to be soft and sweet.
Foie gras and chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche (£11.50) was creamy, a little too creamy, but there was a nice foie gras flavour running through it and the brioche was soft.
A main of roast duck breast, braised grellots and spring vegetables (£16) was stunningly good. The duck was perhaps a little too pink, but it was so tasty and tender that I was captivated by its quality. The veg was also nicely done.
Less successful was the cumin spiced lamb rump (£16) which bordered on being well done. Peas, broad beans, mint, feta and aubergine caviar accompanied the lamb. The dish had been finished with a lamb jus and too much balsamic vinegar, the use of which had the effect of drowning out the dish. The dish was conceptually good, but its execution was poor.
Wild thyme and honeycomb iced parfait (£7) was creamy and smooth, although the thyme was barely discernible. The parfait was finished with pine nuts, a pine nut crisp and honey which was a touch too sweet. But overall this was a good dessert.
The Henry Root is deceptive as the food is far better than one might think from its casual comfy interior. The lamb dish did not work, but this was countered by an incredibly tasty duck dish and the rest of the meal was also of a reasonably high standard. The service was decent too and proved to be chilled and relaxed. This was a good walk-in experience and a worthwhile choice if you are stuck for somewhere to go like we were.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Price range: £23 – £43 for three courses. Excludes drinks and service.