Medlar

Posted on Monday, 3rd March 2014

Medlar Restaurant is a rustic little number on Kings Road occupying the site that was once Vama Restaurant. It serves French ‘style’ food, but as the Medlar website states it also draws inspiration from “all over”. The restaurant was founded by a couple of experienced old hands of the restaurant trade. Head Chef and owner Joe Mercer Nairne honed his skills at Chez Bruce, The Savoy Grill and the big hitting Sydney restaurant Rockpool, and front of house is run by his business partner David O’Connor who was previously at The Square and The Ledbury.

A reading of the Medlar menu suggests food that is warm and satisfying, and the simplicity of the soft greyish tones of the restaurant décor goes a long way in supporting an experience of comfort. The three-course set menu consists of eight options per course and is priced at £45 for dinner from Monday to Saturday. But the same menu is available during lunch and on the weekdays it is even better value at £27 (Saturday lunch- £30, all day Sunday – £35).

We started with the roast foie gras (+£3 supplement) with poached quince. The foie gras was incredible, being beautifully soft, lusciously rich and satisfyingly decadent. The poached quince had been nicely done and worked well with the foie gras, and a drizzling of sherry vinegar caramel was excellent giving way to a perfect touch of acidity. Finely chopped hazelnuts texture and a nice finishing touch. My only wish was a bigger piece of foie gras as it was quite small.

Medlar - Roast foie gras

Roast foie gras

The crab ravioli with samphire was also excellent. The plump ravioli made with a fine pasta case and filled with sweet crab was submerged in a fondue of leeks and bisque sauce with brown shrimps. The result was a satisfying concoction of creamy, rustic flavours.

A beautifully cooked piece of moist roast cod came with a creamy Jerusalem artichoke purée, swiss chard that held onto its bite, and a fragrant salmoriglio. The design of the dish was highly accomplished, but the seasoning disappointed with its saltiness. Alongside the cod was a tasty, wholesome serving of boulangère potatoes that was quite salty as well.

Medlar - Cod

Cod

A grilled halibut was also beautifully cooked and sat alongside a potato galette that showed great skill in its preparation. We liked the idea of a spiced mussel and saffron broth with tender stem broccoli and coriander to accompany the halibut, but here too, the seasoning of the broth was quite heavy.

Medlar - Halibut

Halibut

Tarte tatin with crème fraîche ice cream (for two) was resoundingly solid. The apples were soft and well cooked, if a touch sweet, and the pastry was light and flakey it a little lacking in buttery goodness. The subtlety of the crème fraîche ice cream was a pleasant match for the tart.

Medlar - Apple tarte tartin

Apple tarte tartin

Medlar had been on my go to list for sometime and I went with expectations that were sky high, especially as most of the press reviews of Medlar have had nothing but praise that bordered on near perfection. But it wasn’t quite as perfect as those reviews suggested, and if perfection is what you are seeking then it’s probably best to temper your expectations a little. But credit where credit is due for it’s easy to understand why Medlar is such a hit. The two starters we tried were superb, and on the whole the cooking was as solid as a brick even if the seasoning was slightly off in parts. Medlar is a great ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant that offers comforting, rustic, heartfelt food, and the reasonable prices for this standard of cooking means it rates well on a value for money ratio, especially for a weekday lunch when the same meal is priced at only £27. We found the service to be pleasant and polished.

Summary Information:
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.75/5

Prices:
3 Course Dinner – £45
3 Course Lunch Monday to Friday – £27
3 Course Saturday Lunch – £30
3 Course Sunday Lunch and Dinner – £35
Excludes drinks and service

Website: http://www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk/

Medlar on Urbanspoon

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