Time for Welsh Foood
A former Masterchef: The Professional contestant, Tom Simmons has opened up his first restaurant in London, looking to bring his culinary experiences to the capital. His influences span from his home country of Wales, along with flavours of British and French cuisine. Welsh food has never tasted so good and the relatively unknown and undiscovered flavours are finally coming to London.
Sitting in a newly developed area just off the side of Tower Bridge, we were fortunate to have come during the soft launch and had a hefty discount off our food bill. Their menu for starters and while you wait dishes consisted of an array of options, from Smoke Haddock Fishcakes, Confit Pork Belly and Orkney King Scallops to Chicken Liver Parfait, Duck Rillettes and the Rhug Estate Spring Lamb Cawl.
We went for a light start with the Heritage Tomatoes – a selection of fresh tomatoes topped with a chunky lump of burrata and sprinkled with black olive powder. The sweetness of the tomatoes was really well balanced with the creamy and cheesy burrata and those little chunks of black olives just added a little bit of saltiness to top the dish. It probably could’ve done with a bit more olive but it was a really refreshing dish – full of colour, tasty and perfect for a hot summers day.
Our second starter was the Brixham Crab, Cucumber – a flat round disk of crab topped with something crunchy, like bits of burnt sugar with butter. The presentation of the dish was really pleasant, especially with the dollops of citrusy gel and watercress aioli paste around the dish. A bite into crab mix and you get a strong flavour of the seafood, churned with some kind of mayonnaise-like flavour and eventually you will get the texture and taste of the granny Smith apples. Again, a very light and simple dish, where the food combinations are nicely mashed up together.
For the mains, we tried the Short Rib of Beef, an elegant large chunk of what seems like slow cooked beef sitting on top of mashed potatoes and spinach. The beef was easily shredded and falls apart with a gentle poke and had a decent flavour, although at first bite it lacked that punch you get with a big meaty dish like this. However, if you put the beef, the creamy mash, the shallots and the crunchy bits of pancetta and dipped it all in the bourguignon sauce, then you get one mighty mouthful of flavour, juice and that comfort you always get when eating something delicious. Imagine that chunky beef surrounded by thick mash, the sweet shallots and the crunchy and saltiness of the pancetta cutting across, all wrapped in the elegant sauce. It was a real mouthful and something you can sit back and just savour for a minute.
Although we were tempted with their Cote De Boeuf (for two), we wanted to try not only just beef but some fish as well and we are glad we did. Their Roast Cod was the highlight of the evening! The fish was so beautifully cooked, soft on the inside but crispy on the skin and the taste was well seasoned and delicious. I haven’t tasted fish like this for a long time and the creamy cauliflower puree, crunchy shallots and soft girolles (mushroom) all compliment this silky and gorgeous dish of cod. Very well rounded and I am so glad we didn’t order the big platter of beef!
The dessert menu had the usual chocolate mousses, sticky toffee pudding and a tart. The one item that stood out was the Rum Baba – a little sponge like cake soaked in rum. The alcohol-filled cake was very strong and had a very interesting texture and went well with the cream and bits of raspberry.
They also had a decent cheese selection, which comes with crackers and this amazing chutney. Try their swiss cheese from the Affineur Walo Red Wine Farmer, creamy and really yum with those crackers.
Overall a very enjoyable meal, starters were refreshing and light, mains were juicy and full of taste and desserts were decent. It helps that the staff were really nice and helpful, answering questions about the different ingredients, the restaurant and the types of cheese. A nice introduction to the culinary world of Welsh food!
Also published on Medium.