London Restaurant Festival 2017: The Pavilion Road trail in Chelsea
In London, there is no greater luxury than time. From the packed commuter trains to the bustling streets, it seems like everyone wishes that there could be just another hour in the day. Time to linger and enjoy, to put in that extra bit of effort or really savour what we see, eat and experience.
On the genteel cobbles of Pavilion Road, time is in surplus. This artisan street is built on a foundation of craftsmanship and skill. We take a tour as part of the London Restaurant Festival, and see first hand the care that goes into every shop on this street. Sourdough bubbles away slowly in the kitchens of Bread Ahead, given hours to rise and form that characteristic openness that makes it so very popular. Upstairs, people from all over the city find time to take classes from the master bakers, learning the immense value that patience plays in the creation of any baked good.
At Provenance, the street’s butcher, hulking great fore ribs of beef hanging for weeks, every day subtly enhancing the meat’s flavour. And that’s likely how long the staff would be happy to discuss their craft with you, their eyes alight with passion and enthusiasm over their product.
As would those at London Cheesemongers, where 15 minutes is barely enough to scratch the surface of many topics. The role pasteurisation plays is beautifully illustrated in the difference between a nutty cheddar and a mild wensleydale. The latter benefits immensely from its lack of pasteurisation, felt in the form of a dozen subtle strains of flavour that develop as the cheese lingers on the tongue.
Fruit and vegetable suppliers Natoora have produce so beautifully ripe and in season that for a minute you’d swear you were in the heart of a Kentish farm shop. From a deliciously intriguing selection of unusual fruit (like green Clementines) to surprisingly subtle fennels, everything is utterly enticing. There’s a good reason why many restaurants value them as an excellent supplier.
After sampling so much produce, we finish with a selection from the street’s restaurant, Wulf and Lamb. Entirely plant-based, the idea is that this is a place where carnivores and herbivores can sit at the same table and enjoy life’s bounty. The result is intriguing, though we find it a little strange to open a vegan restaurant on a street with such bountiful supplies of meat and cheese.
A Chilli Non Carne is a sultry, smokey thing, using the deep richness of its sauce to disguise the absence of any beef. Tiramisu is bafflingly creamy and rich for a dessert without any hint of dairy, and suitably boozy. A mango and passionfruit cheesecake is delicious, its blend of macadamia and pistachio nuts for a thoroughly indulgent texture that’s the match for any non-vegan offering.
Photos: Daniel Masters
The shops and restaurant are part of Pavilion Road, for further information about the London Restaurant Festival 2017 visit here.