Cabrito at The National Café
As the faces of hundreds of Londoners and tourists whizz past you on a cold winter evening, the Friday Night Socials at The National Café provides a feeling of community that is not easily found in Central London. These fantastic events, staged every week, exhibit the best and most cultured food that renowned restaurateur Oliver Peyton can find.
Foodies and Creatives of the city recently united to taste the delicacies of Cabrito – a collaborative coupling of chef James Whetlor and farmer Jack Jennings, to make goat a part of the British menu. Due to poor supply in this country, goat, with its rich, distinct depth of flavour, has been somewhat ignored by chefs. Jennings and Whetlor have aimed to rectify this issue by starting their own farm in the Somerset hills.
In the same way that the ‘Veal or No Veal’ debate surrounds bull calves, billy kids evoke a similar argument. Usually killed as soon as they are born, Cabrito offers them a better length of life. Whatever your view, the respect that Jennings bestows on these animals through sensitive rearing is evident in the dishes that were served.
An opener Nettle and Mint Gimlet, sweet but salivatingly sharp, immediately awakened the tastebuds and prepared us for the exquisite-tasting Ethicurean Goat Bacon Sandwich that was offered to us with a flourish by a very attentive waiter. Within a fantastic aioli sauce, hints of fennel perfectly complemented the almost gamey taste of the bacon. Although rather heavy with pastry for a canapé, we also tucked into a Goat Sausage Roll.
The fantastic thing about Friday Night Socials is that they are just this: socials. Upon entering, you are given the opportunity to choose to sit at a long table to share with other parties, or opt for a more intimate space. The dynamic atmosphere and sharing menu inspires chat and though there is much specialised conversation, opinions and involvement in the dining experience is encouraged.
The goat-themed night was not entirely based upon meat. Rated by some as the favourite dish of the night, roasted squash with lentils, walnuts and goats’ curd was devoured as much as it was savoured. Kid braised in cider, sweet and succulent, followed. Although this was not as sensitively flavoured as the other dishes, it showed how versatile the meat can be.
An evening full of surprises, Cabrito at The National Café was a brilliant opportunity to have a taste of what goat can offer in an extraordinary setting. The staff were attentive and courteous, with a good knowledge of wine and were happy to cater to the requests of some top foodie customers.
Cabrito at The National Café: 49/60