Food & Drinks – The Upcoming http://www.theupcoming.co.uk Culture, trends, fashion from London and beyond | The Upcoming Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:49:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Veuve Clicquot Winter Terrace launches at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/20/veuve-clicquot-winter-terrace-launches-at-st-pancras-renaissance-hotel/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 03:09:48 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=316548 The elaborate red brick façade of St Pancras Station is an imposing presence on a chilly London evening, looming over passers-by in Victorian splendour. Cosy is not a word you’d necessarily associate with it. But if you happen to be outside the lobby of the five-star St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in the next six weeks, you’ll notice a little patch of warmth and festive cheer under the Neo-Gothic arches, where Veuve Clicquot has set up its delightful pop-up champagne bar.

The terrace is decked out in Veuve’s signature yellow, complete with branded blankets and cushions, yellow glasses and of course, yellow ice buckets. The effect is a bit like stepping into a fondue, but that only adds to the ski-lodge atmosphere. The bar itself is a gorgeous 1950s Airstream trailer (also yellow), sending out their signature champagnes – Yellow Label and a lovely rosé – as well as some classic champagne cocktails at around £15. For maximum wintry effect, we’d recommend the Rocher Royale with white chocolate and hazelnut liqueur.

As we get ever closer to Christmas, the twinkly lights and Christmas trees will be out in force, and if that wasn’t quite enough seasonal magic, there will even be carol singers on hand to round things out. It’s a little pricey, and we have to admit that our instincts are firmly to be indoors rather than outdoors at this time of year, but there’s something charming about wrapping yourself in a blanket and enjoying the crisp air with a glass of champagne.

Victoria Clark
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina

To book a table at Veuve Clicquot Winter Terrace at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road London NW1 2AR, call 020 7841 3566 or enquire on their website here. The terrace bar is open Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm until 10pm.

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Beaufort Bar launches Harry Potter-inspired Cocktail of the Moment at the Savoy http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/16/beaufort-bar-launches-harry-potter-inspired-cocktail-of-the-moment-at-the-savoy/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:14:59 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=316451 The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar already exudes magic and mystery, with its black walls and gilt edging, its lush velvet and allusions to the Golden Age of Hollywood. What better place, then, to celebrate that most magical literary creation, Harry Potter? It’s the 20th anniversary of the boy wizard’s first appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the iconic bar is marking the occasion with an elaborate Cocktail of the Moment, aptly named The Chosen One.

The cocktail comes with quite a bit of fanfare – it has its own booklet, beautifully illustrated with motifs from the last novel in the series, The Deathly Hallows. The drink itself is a sumptuous deep pink shade recalling one of the concoctions that Professor Snape might whip up in a potions class. Each ingredient is carefully chosen to reflect some aspect of the Potter world. There’s Star of Bombay gin for its British origins, Bénédictine and beetroot cordial for the herbal, apothecary roots of the spells. Unexpectedly, there’s also salted butter (remember the butterbeer served at the Three Broomsticks), which lends a silky, creamy texture to the drink.

And if you want to get really nerdy about this, the cocktail is adorned with the sign of the Deathly Hallows – the elder wand, the resurrection stone, and the invisibility cloak – which goes up in a flash as its served. Anise (wormwood) in the drink, represents the wood of the wand, while the minerality of chablis recalls the stone. The gorgeous pearlescence of the drink, created by silver flakes, represents the invisibility cloak.

The Chosen One won’t be around forever, though – it’s part of a series of Cocktails of the Moment, all dedicated to the anniversaries of great British books. Next up is The Arkenstone, a honeyed mead-y creation for the 80th anniversary of The Hobbit, and then Elementary, a Manhattan-style drink for the 125th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes. These drinks aren’t exactly a bargain – this being the Savoy, they hover around the £20 mark – but the glamorous surroundings, impeccable service and attention to detail should be enough to lure you in for a literary celebration.

Virginia Clark
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina

To book a table at the Beaufort Bar, The Savoy 99 Strand, London WC2R 0EU, call 020 7836 4343 or visit the website here.

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The Courtesan in Brixton relaunches with feminine drinks list http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/15/the-courtesan-in-brixton-relaunches-with-feminine-drinks-list/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:32:30 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=316182 The Courtesan, on Atlantic Road in Brixton, is re-launching, and doing so with a celebration of their “feminine” drinks list – all spirits and wines coming from female producers or growers. It’s a self-proclaimed dim sum restaurant and late night bar, and the whole evening gave new dimensions to the word Orientalism. The menus were written as if you were being addressed by an obsequious geisha, and the interior looked like the Asia that you remember from the movies. It is the kind of interior that you can imagine Ryan Gosling wandering around, looking at things in an unnecessarily sexy way. It is dark and iniquitous and beautiful. The restaurant, not Ryan Gosling…actually, both.

So what of the all-female drinks list that was the toast of the evening? Well, it’s a gimmick. A harmless gimmick, maybe even an admirable one, but a gimmick none the less. It tells nothing of the quality of the produce. Luckily, it was mostly backed up, and Gabriella Thorpe’s Vintage Velvet Vodka was a real high point – a sipping vodka if ever there was one.

There were talks from various producers or ambassadors about the “feminine” drinks list, although confusingly, most of these talks were given by men. In fact, confusion was very much the order of the day: every so often a West End star would burst into opera, and would walk among the crowd singing as people tucked into their not particularly tasty food (Four Cheese Dumplings – cheese and soy sauce, no thank you).

So what with the opera singing, and the vodka, and the poorly made dim sum, it was all quite baffling. And then everything fell into place. After the fourth or fifth drink, the merits of The Courtesan as a late night bar really hit home. The sight of a room full of tipsy people swaying with their glasses raised to the sounds of La Traviata sung by a man on a table was nothing if not joyous.

The Courtesan will host opera nights in their downstairs boudoir, as well as burlesque and other entertainment. And this is where their strength lies. This is not a dim sum restaurant and late night bar. It is a crazy little bar that happens to do food.

Come here late, leave all your expectations at the door, and just go along for the ride.

Todd Palmer

To book a table at Courtesan, 69 Atlantic Road Brixton London SW9 8PU, call 020 8127 8677 or visit the website here.

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Noma 2.0: René Redzepi reopens the world’s most influential restaurant in February 2018 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/11/noma-2-0-rene-redzepi-reopens-the-worlds-most-influential-restaurant-in-february-2018/ Sat, 11 Nov 2017 21:00:35 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=316248 René Redzepi’s New Nordic Cuisine was a game changer, on and off the plate. It was particularly culture-defining for the new wave of British restaurants – from Dabbous to The Kitchen Table, The Clove Club to Lyle’s, Story to The Typing Room – that fully embraced the Danish chef’s concept: no tablecloth, a very seasonal menu, attention to alternative processes (e.g. fermentation) and an overall minimalist approach.

The theme of Noma’s re-opening period is the celebration of Scandinavian seafood which, according to the chef, “is at its absolute best during the cold, winter months”. The menu will feature elements from the ocean on every dish and it won’t be suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who have allergies to seafood: the summer menu, however, based on vegetables, will be a suitable option for them.

This exciting new restaurant will have 40 seats and will be open for lunch and dinner. Reservations will commence next week on the 16th – it’s set to be a bloodbath – and there is going to be an extremely strict cancellation policy (a minimum of five business days). The first booking period will be for 15th February – 29th April 2018, and the cost will be 10% higher than the latest menu to offer a better quality of life to Noma’s staff. Every night 10% of the tables will be available – at a special price – for students who can register their interest through a waiting list. 

During the last few days chef Redzepi teased his followers with images of live seafood and dissected fish.

There’s a great deal of anticipation about this new phase of the celebrated Copenhagen restaurant, which Redzepi dubbed as Noma 2.0. In the meantime, if you want to be in touch with the chef’s ethos, you can download and try his foraging application Vild Mad for iPhone and Android.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

For further information and to book a table visit the Noma website here. To download the Vild Mad app visit here for iPhone and here for Android.

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Salut! in Islington: An ambitious but accessible local restaurant | Restaurant review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/11/salut-in-islington-an-ambitious-but-accessible-local-restaurant-restaurant-review/ Sat, 11 Nov 2017 16:51:23 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=316187 Did you know that, while in France frog legs are a common dish, in certain parts of the world frogs are cooked entirely, sometimes simmered and blitzed into a soup? Perhaps fortunately, it would appear that the people of Islington are not yet ready for this; to make abundantly clear the European influence, Salut! sticks to the tradition of their French chef, Fabien Gailly. But we’ll get to that later.

We started with whipped butter flavoured with mushroom and truffle. Rich, earthy and decadent, it made the bread feel more like a canapé. Our meal continued with After the Rain, the aforementioned frog legs. Crispy and packed with flavour, they were excellent: the wild mushrooms, which form the base of the dish, provide an effective contrast in texture and are generously portioned. A cold Peppered Octopus starter was even more impressive, both tender and packing great flavour, something hard to achieve when not serving hot. It was accompanied by a squid ink tuile and a piquillos sauce, but in truth the octopus was the star of the show here which was no bad thing.

A main of mallard – a skilfully cooked breast and a tougher, though tasteful, confit leg – came with jerusalem artichoke crisps and purée, encased in globe artichokes. The vegetables really stood well with the wild duck. Pan-fried Halibut with variations of beetroot and tarragon was a more unusual dish. The halibut was flawless and a mixture of beetroot textures paired well, without overpowering the fish. Tarragon bubbles added a touch of theatre to proceedings, its lightness working well within the context of the course. The fish was served skin side down, something I would usually consider bizarre – serve it crispy or remove it – but here it was one of the unexpected highlights of the meal. Unctuous and fatty, it added a wonderful richness to the dish. Utterly unexpected but completely wonderful.

A dessert of Red Berries Pavlova was good but slightly ordinary, the blackcurrant sorbet very clearly the strongest element. The meringue appeared as crispy shards, which, although fine in theory, removed something of the essence of a pavlova having no slightly sticky indulgent middle. A cheeseboard put together by French cheesemaker Bernard Mure-Ravaud, winner of the International Caseus Award, was interestingly varied, taking in picodon, beaufort chalet d’alpage, iraty aux deux lait, brillat-savarin with truffle and timanoix.

The standard of cooking of Salut! is high, with a few wobbles along the way – at around £50 a head for a three-course dinner perhaps an amuse-bouche or pre-dessert from the kitchen wouldn’t go amiss. These are niggling complaints though, and overall the food here was excellent, the service attentive and the general ambience they’ve managed to curate in a small space was warm and welcoming.

Salut! is the kind of ambitious but accessible restaurant that you hope opens up within your postcode; and if yours isn’t N1, it’s worthy of a trip.

[verdictfood]

Jack Lury
Photos: Scott Hobson-Jones

To book a table at Salut!,412 Essex Road London N1 3PJ, call 020 3441 8808 or visit their website here.

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Schmaltz launches food truck serving fine-dining chicken in Broadgate Circle http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/07/schmaltz-launches-food-truck-serving-fine-dining-chicken-in-broadgate-circle/ Tue, 07 Nov 2017 19:35:03 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=315362 While there is currently only one michelin-starred street food vendor in the world, a potential second may have just made its mark in Broadgate Circle. Schmaltz is making it their mission to change the street food game with michelin-inspired meal offerings starting at only £7.

French Label Rouge chicken, preserved lemon feta, parmesan crisps and mushroom duxelles – you have a better chance of finding these items at a fine-dining restaurant than at your average food truck. Chefs including Karl Burdock and George Clark (BAO/Le Bun) helped develop Schmaltz’s upmarket concept. Serving high-end dishes from a dandelion-print van fashioned by award-winning design house Timorous Beasties, Schmaltz is bringing about an air of proud “ventrification” – that is, the gentrification of street vendors – to East London’s dude food scene.

Schmaltz’s main focus is the chicken. Not just any chicken, either: they only stock 100% French Label Rouge, which is considered by many to be the best poultry in the world; it certifies that the birds are reared using only free-range, environmentally friendly, and traditional methods approved by French authorities. As a result, the cost of this brand of chicken can be significantly higher than regular market choices, which is why Schmaltz’s offerings of Label Rouge chicken sandwiches running for only £7 is even more surprising.

Seared then roasted – skin on – the chicken is picture-perfect: visibly juicy, the exact right amount of crisp, and served on a teardrop-shaped bun. It’s shaped to look like “a full, fresh unadulterated superior chicken breast” and created as “a feminine nod to the ever-expanding quality in the fast food revolution”. Outside of technical details and promises of upscale food for street stall prices, the sandwiches are actually quite delicious: the Schmaltz Breast Sandwich is more than enough of a reason to drop by and check out this exquisite offer.

There are also some vegetarian options, such as the Courgette Rosti Burger, which comes with green chilli sauce, wasabi, baby kale, and a crunchy parmesan crisp. As someone who does not ordinarily enjoy meat-less meals, the fresh ingredients and complex flavour palate of this sandwich will surely inspire me to order it again.

Kari Megeed
Photos: Kari Megeed

Schmaltz is at Pitch 4 Broadgate Circle London EC2M 2QS. For further information visit their website here.

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The Cocktail Guy: Sushisamba mixologist Rich Woods presents his cocktail book http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/11/02/the-cocktail-guy-sushisamba-mixologist-rich-woods-presents-his-cocktail-book/ Thu, 02 Nov 2017 14:00:24 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=315595

Rich Woods, aka The Cocktail Guy, presented his first recipe book at Sushisamba, where he is head of spirit and cocktail development. Featuring 70 of Woods’s iconic drinks – available globally at Sushisambas and at Duck and Waffle – and some of his new creations, this is the ultimate guide to modern cocktailing, whether you are a home enthusiast or professional bartender.

The mixologist’s signature style and cutting-edge cocktails make him one of the world’s most exciting bartenders; Woods oversees the development of ever-changing drinks programs across the globe, as well as creating new brands and products for the Sushisamba group.

“In this book, I hope that you find drinks that will both engage your senses and ignite your creative desire. Included are those that are ‘greatly simple’ and others that are ‘simply great’ – but might require a bit more effort on your part. With all the drinks, the approach is always the same. My aim is to take you step-by-step through the creative process and also to enlighten you as to where the ideas behind these drinks came from. After all, they say the devil is in the detail.”

“Whether you follow my recipes verbatim or use them to inspire your own creations, I hope that you find something new and exciting within these pages and enjoy experiencing my kind of drinks. Just remember, no recipe is a proven perfect drink. There is no such thing as failure – each misstep is another move forward on the path to success. Write down all your ideas and note even the unsuccessful ones. You never know when an occasion or smell or moment will spark a new creation. Above all, create something different.”

As an international award-winning bartender, Woods is at the forefront of cocktail development and a key figure in bridging the gap between the worlds of food and drink. His social media channels are awash with inspirational, mouth-watering creations; he can be followed @the_cocktailguy on Instagram and Twitter.

The editorial unit
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina

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Nuno Mendes’s The Kitchens tried and tasted: High-end food stalls at Old Spitalfields Market http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/10/30/nuno-mendess-the-kitchens-tried-and-tasted-high-end-food-stalls-at-old-spitalfields-market/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:18:15 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=315109 This month, Nuno Mendes – chef of Chiltern Firehouse, Taberna do Mercado and formerly of Viajante – has launched a game-changing project at Old Spitalfields Market named The Kitchens. It’s the first phase of the market’s refurbishment project: a new line-up of traders representing small, independent and local businesses will join the community over the course of the next six months. The completed market will feature in excess of 100 market traders and a new events programme, all to be unveiled in spring 2018.

To some extent, the Portuguese chef revamped his passion for unearthing talent, like he did with the Loft Project a few years ago. The ten traders at The Kitchens have been carefully selected by his own creative organisation, Ten Ten, with the help of hospitality consultant Stephen Macintosh. Their vision is that the new market becomes a hub for creative and entrepreneurial talent, serving the local community and celebrating its East End origins. The stalls themselves are a work of art, designed by the firm of world-class architect Sir Norman Foster. They are situated in the heart of the market and they all have fully functional kitchens, allowing seven days a week trading – until 8pm, with no exception (we missed out on some Amatriciana pasta because of the time).

We went down to the market to try the food first-hand.

Breddos Tacos

Once a street stall in a Hackney car park, it has now become one of London’s most famous taquerias, with two sites: Clerkenwell and Soho. After talking about their long and detailed food preparation process, we tried the juicy pork tacos they have on offer.

Rök

Rök rose to fame in Shoreditch thanks to their Nordic-inspired dishes that focus heavily on preservation. Chef Matt Young gave a street food touch to their restaurant’s classics; we tried the Crispy Herring Bagel and Nori-seasoned Crushed Deep Fried Potatoes. Both courses stood out for character, flavour and texture: hands down our favourite stall.

Yum Bun

Rök might have been our favourite but their next-door neighbour is just as good and tasty. Clearly specialised in buns, the female cooks prepared for us three different versions: pork, chicken and tofu. A succulent pork stole the show, however, the tofu proved how the vegetarian option could be as intriguing as the meat (it’s also available in a vegan version).

East Anglian Oysters

Our tour originally began with some oyster tasting. It’s not actually one of the ten stalls but it’s right next to them and for those who love the luxury mollusc (including your writer), Bobby’s East Anglian oysters will be a pleasant surprise. When we went there were some fleshy, rich varieties from Colchester and Maldon. You might remember their little cart from Chiltern Firehouse.

Of course we didn’t have the opportunity (i.e. we were getting way to full) to try every stall but, but from the look (and smell) of the food they seemed to be all worthy of a stop. Berber and Q focuses on flavours and ingredients from the Middle East and North Africa (flatbreads, lamb Méchoui, and cauliflower Shawarma to name a few); Bar Barbarian explores the culinary diversity of Asia using local and seasonal produce; Dumpling Shack are some of the most respected dumpling-makers among street food traders (apparently the Shengjianbao ones are a must-try); Flank has a nose-to-tail approach to beef cookery, utilising open fire and some mini Green Eggs; Thousand Knives features the team from the Dalston Japanese restaurant and music venue Brilliant Corners, their offer consists of small plates (vegan friendly, too), natural wine and cocktails served to the sound of music; Sood Family is the first permanent space for the successful East London pop-up, they serve seasonal fresh pasta dishes such as Amatriciana and Gorgonzola Tortelloni.

We tried, however, Happy Endings, one of the winners at the 2017 Young British Foodie awards. Terri Mercieca has already gathered a cult following for her creative range of ice cream sandwiches and desserts (Naughty One, a salted caramel and miso parfait between fine layers of chocolate Guinness cake, is particularly popular). Of the various desserts we had, the chocolate fondant was clearly the most luscious.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Laura Denti

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Flying Chefs: Experience a Michelin-starred private dinner in a luxury chalet this ski season http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/10/25/flying-chefs-experience-a-michelin-starred-private-dinner-in-a-luxury-chalet-this-ski-season/ Wed, 25 Oct 2017 13:31:29 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=314903

Last night Scott Dunn launched Flying Chefs, a new culinary bespoke experience for the 2017/18 ski season. This exclusive service allows the privileged guests of the luxury chalets to choose a chef for a private dinner from a lineup of six highly acclaimed and revered culinary talents: Mauro Colagreco – from the world’s fourth best restaurant Mirazur – two-michelin-starred Sat Bains, the legendary Pierre Koffmann, Alyn Williams, Monica Galetti and Andrew Wong. An incredible menu – created and cooked by their chosen chef – will be served in the privacy of a deluxe chalet.

At the Gaggenau Marylebone store, two of the chefs prepared a selection of fine canapés – paired with Laurent-Perrier champagne – to give a taste of what it’s like to have them cooking for you. Alyn Williams, from the celebrated restaurant at the Westbury in Mayfair, served Orkney Scallop Ceviche, Chicken Liver Parfait Tubes, Alyn’s Swiss Fondue and a classic Treacle Tart.

British Chinese Andrew Wong, who won his first michelin star just a couple of weeks ago, gave a demonstration of his noodle-making skills before presenting his signature Mushroom Bun, and two more dishes: Barbecued Pork Belly and Egg Waffles and Cured Beef.

Booking a Flying Chef is the ultimate way for Scott Dunn guests to celebrate a special occasion, entertain clients or friends, or purely enjoy the unique opportunity of watching a top chef close at work. Guests will have exclusive access to their chef to ask any burning questions over a glass of wine, and perhaps even receive a short kitchen masterclass. With respect to the distinct culinary style and identity of every Flying Chef, the experience will be completely tailored to the tastes of each individual set of guests making this a hugely bespoke and decadent dining experience.

The lineup of Flying Chefs are all culinary heavy-weights both in the UK and internationally, and are frequently included within best restaurant lists, with many having worked at michelin-star level.

Monica Galetti

Samoan-born New Zealand chef Monica Galetti opened her first restaurant, Mere, in Fitzrovia earlier this year alongside her husband David, fusing classic French flavours with South Pacific influences. Before venturing out on her own, Monica spent the last 16 years working at the prestigious two-michelin-star Le Gavroche, where she rose through the ranks to senior sous chef. She has been a judge on the BBC series Masterchef: The Professionals since 2009.

Pierre Koffmann

Pierre Koffman began his culinary career at Le Gavroche with the Roux family, before opening with them the Waterside Inn in Bray in 1972 and winning two michelin stars. Pierre then went on to open his own restaurant, La Tante Claire in 1977 which was awarded three michelin stars. After briefly retiring in 2003, he made a comeback with a pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges in 2006 and then opened Koffmann’s at The Berkeley which he headed up for six years. Koffmann will be opening a brasserie in central London later on this year.

Alyn Williams

Alyn opened Alyn Williams at The Westbury in Mayfair in 2011, which was awarded a michelin star within its first year. Before that he was a head chef under Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, which received a second michelin star during his time there and where he worked for five years. Alyn’s innovative and playful cooking style, partly inspired by French techniques, exudes creativity and elegance.

Andrew Wong

Restaurant A Wong in Victoria serves authentic regionally inspired Chinese cuisine, including one of London’s most talked about dim sum menus. In 2017 the restaurant was voted number three in the UK at the National Restaurant Awards. A Wong has also received three AA Rosettes and a star from the Michelin guide. Andrew won the Chinese Master Chef competition in the UK in 2013 and recently launched his debut culinary cookbook entitled A Wong – The Cookbook.

Sat Bains

Sat Bains is chef patron of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms in Nottingham. Since opening his restaurant in 2002, he has been awarded two michelin stars, the ultimate 5 Rosettes accolade from the AA, 9 out of 10 in the Good Food Guide and three honorary university degrees. He has made numerous television appearances including the Great British Menu, Saturday Kitchen and the Roux Scholarship.

Mauro Colagreco

Italian-Argentine born Mauro, who has two Michelin stars, is chef patron of restaurant Mirazur in Menton, on the Cote D’Azur and this year was voted number four in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants academy. Mauro’s early career saw him work in some of Paris’ best kitchens including L’Arpège for Alain Passard and at Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée. He established Mirazur in 2006, in a modernist building with sweeping views of the Mediterranean which offers elegant yet simple food championing fresh local produce from the Italian / French border.

Filippo L’Astorina
Photos/video: Filippo L’Astorina

For further information about Flying Chefs visit the Scott Dunn website here.

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Santo Remedio in Southwark: London finally has again a Mexican restaurant worthy of the name | Restaurant review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/10/23/santo-remedio-in-southwark-london-finally-has-again-a-mexican-worthy-of-the-name-restaurant-review/ Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:04:53 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=314628 When sky-high rents pushed Santo Remedio out of Shoreditch last year, there was almost palpable disappointment. Great Mexican food is curiously hard to come by in London; it’s all enjoyable but ultimately chains or burrito peddlers who couldn’t make a decent mole if their lives depended on it. For a city that does almost every cuisine justice, it’s an odd omission.

One crowdfunding campaign later and London once again has a Mexican restaurant worthy of the name. Gone are the hectic, almost chaotic vibes of the old place, replaced with the effortless cool of a new Bermondsey location. Gone are the old bottles of Corona, replaced with great cocktails and locally sourced beers. What remains is the same outstanding food.

An impeccable guacamole, spiky with citrus, gets us off to a great start. Compared to the bland offerings you get elsewhere, it feels like suddenly seeing the world in technicolor, every element that much cleaner, brighter, more vivacious.

Next comes Elote de la Esquina. Ears of perfectly cooked sweetcorn are coated in lime and then dusted generously with pecorino cheese. The sweetness, sticky corn, zing of citrus and hearty umami of the cheese form the perfect flavour triangle, and this simple dish is deceptively addictive. Our waitress tells us it’s one of the most popular dishes, and we can see why.

Baby Potato Flautas are equally delicious. Creamy crushed potatoes are abundantly seasoned with  coriander and jalapeno, rolled in tacos and then smothered in an addictive avocado sauce. If we have any complaints, it’s that there isn’t a spare taco on the side, to mop up what remains of said sauce. It pairs well with a dish of Frijoles Negros, deep, rich black beans with little pucks of creamy cheese and well-balanced margaritas from the downstairs bar.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos pair the crunch of Deep Fried Crab with a sharp stab of heat and silky tortilla. It’s a much needed textural contrast in a meal that’s otherwise dominated by soft elements, and we love how simply the crab has been treated here. Rather than being swamped beneath sauces, spice, pickles and condiments of every variety, the ingredient is just allowed to shine for its own merits.

It’s easy to see where that confidence comes from: every dish is simply delicious and robust. It looks like London finally has again a Mexican worthy of the name.

[verdictfood]

Daniel Masters
Photos: Daniel Masters/Nick Hopper

To book a table at Santo Remedio, 152 Tooley St London SE1 2TU, call 020 7485 2112 or visit their website here.

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