For more updates...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Berners Tavern: Atherton soars through London!

Since leaving Gordon Ramsey in 2010, Jason Atherton has taken the restaurant world by storm, soaring his way through Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, London and [soon to be] Dubai. It's been a while since I've been to Asia (when I was there, you probably would've been more likely to find me shoving my face into a bowl of street food instead of engaging in fine dining etiquette), but I have not missed the chance to sample his wares in London. Since the triumphant Pollen Street Social, we've seen the likes of Little Social, Social Eating House and City Social spanning across Mayfair, Soho, Fitzrovia, and into The City to create a demi 'social' empire. Not content with this though, he's now also pitched up camp at the Town Hall Hotel in the trendy east (filling the shoes of Nuno Mendes at Viajante), and the London Edition in the thriving West End. It is the latter that I nod my head today, after recently filling up at Berners Tavern.

Almost ballroom sized, with triple height ceilings, this is a very open plan dining room that somehow remarkably manages to feel warm, cosy and intimate. Impressive chandeliers pay subtle homage to Carl Faberge and the artwork adorning the walls leave no inch of wall uncovered - I feel like I've just walked into a stately reception hall that should be candlelit and butler clad. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the pseudo grandeur though, I am hit by a soulful dining room filled with the sound of casual conversation, unbridled laughter and a welcoming host. With a separate entrance from Berners Street, you need not acknowledge that this is infact a hotel at all, which I'm sure will be appealing to many...

This is infact the second time I've eaten here (the first being for breakfast at the back end of 2014), so I thought I knew how to contain giddy urges, but upon reviewing the menu, there was rather a lot to get excited about! I owe this to my brother, but I strongly believe that if we are to eat an animal, we should (1) be willing to use and eat all of it, and (2) know where it comes from, or more specifically, how it gets to your plate. Delighted I was then, to see a pigs head on the menu, not to mention a plethora of regionally sourced foodstuffs including, but not limited to Colchester crab, Highland venison and Cornish cod. I didn't order the pigs head because I don't care for fois gras, but I regretted that decision because it was utterly delicious, perfectly balanced by the pickled onions, which also took me back to those made by my mother growing up (Crispy pigs head, fois gras and black pudding, watercress and pickled onion salad with sauce gribiche - £12).

Starter: Ironbark pumpkin risotto, smoked ham 
hock, crispy quail egg & kale crisps - £12
I wonder if the goal here then, is to present you with all the foods you grew up with in a British home, but to refine them until it's not just your memories that are tantalised, but your tastebuds too. Opting for the pumpkin risotto with caution (I've had one too many starchy or solid risotto's in my time!), I was blown away by its simplicity being so completely perfect - cooked expertly to my taste, an ideal starter portion, salty/sweet ham hock, with crispy kale chips for texture (Ironbark pumpkin risotto, crispy quail egg, smoked ham hock, kale crisps - £12). With my cyclical red meat craving looming, I resist the venison (I'm not sure how though!), selecting the Grass Fed British Rib Eye 10oz (£33), with triple cooked chips and Bernaise sauce (why would you put anything else on a steak?!). Cooked pink and tender, delivered to my table in all it's glory as an unadulterated slab of meat #salivating!

Continuing the theme into dessert, I had an éclair, a charming and delicious éclair (Apple caramel éclair, calvados cream, salted caramel ice cream - £8.50). Admittedly, this wasn't the average éclair you trundle down to your local baker in your pyjamas for, but when presented on the menu next to a trifle (Rhubarb trifle, crispy meringue, lemon ice cream - £8.50) and rice pudding (Warm apple + pear rice pudding, cinnamon crumble ice cream - £8.50), I couldn't help but feel as though I was at home! Hold on, should I have brought my slippers?!

What a treat this place is, hey! Not bank breaking, not pretentious, just simple food done exceptionally well...congratulations and thank you for putting that menu infront of me.

Grass Fed British Rib Eye 10oz, triple cooked chips & bernaise sauce - £33 
Apple caramel eclair, calvados cream, salted caramel ice cream - £8.50

Square Meal Berners Tavern on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment