Posted on Monday, 12th September 2016
Noble Rot Restaurant and Wine Bar is located on quirky Lamb’s Conduit in Bloomsbury and is run by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, the same pair who founded the well-known wine magazine of the same name, Noble Rot. Wines obviously play a key part in this Parisian-styled wine bar, but the sizeable dining room serves a seasonal British menu which changes regularly. The kitchen is headed by Paul Weaver who has worked at both St John Bread & Wine and was at The Sportsman for 5 years. Noble Rot also has another link to The Sportsman, with chef/owner Stephen Harris acting as a consultant.
Our first course of gazpacho, Lincolnshire smoked eel and lovage (£8.50) was lovely and fresh. The sweet and slightly tangy gazpacho was richly intense with flavour, and it married wonderfully with the smokiness of the delicious, fatty eel. This a wonderful dish, packed full of punch and finesse.
From the bar menu, we ordered the pork terrine with piccalilli (£8.50) which was meaty and robust. Homely and rustic, it made for great comfort food, but it didn’t give us the same level of enjoyment as the eel gazpacho.
Moving onto the mains, also delicious was the braised Cornish turbot with courgettes and a crab bisque sauce (£26). The turbot was beautifully cooked, tasty and moist and paired well with the lusciously creamy crab bisque which had an abundance of sweet crab flavour. This was every bit as good as the turbot I had at The Sportsman a few years ago.
The roast Gloucester old spot pork shoulder with coco de paimpol beans and green sauce (£18) was also tasty in a rustic, hearty sort of way. The pork was pleasantly cooked and the beans were nice. The green sauce – a salsa verde with anchovies, capers and parsley – was fresh, but there was too much of it. It was also quite salty, and so the combination of too much sauce and the sauce being salty slightly overwhelmed the pork.
I really enjoyed a dessert of greengage and hazelnut tart (£8). The outstanding element of the tart was the pastry which was sublime – thin, buttery and flaky. The greengage, a type of peach, was soft, and not too sweet. The pairing with the hazelnut gave the tart a lovely nuttiness.
The cooking at Noble Rot was solid and skilful, with dishes ranging from classic hearty fare (the pork terrine and the pork shoulder) to ones that soared to levels of pure class (the gazpacho and the turbot). The wine list was excellent and offered great variety, with a good selection by the glass which was priced between £4 and £23. The service was warm and confident and helped round off what was a rather enjoyable dining experience. Noble Rot was a truly good place to eat and well worth a visit.
1) The turbot dish which was excellent.
2) The gazpacho
3) The exceptional pastry on the greengage tart.
4) The excellent wine list.
1) The salsa verde on the pork was quite salty.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5
Price: £35 to £45 for 3 courses, excludes drinks and service.