The food is British and modern and the sort of place you should bring your overseas friends to show them what British food is all about these days. It’s also ultra seasonal, with a strong, though not exclusive, emphasis on fish and seafood.
On that sea theme, the top of menu offered – a gulls egg – now there’s something you don’t see everyday -a rare treat, shrouded in a fair bit of hype. The sort of thing 10 years ago you’d perhaps only get in one of the Gentleman’s Clubs in Pall Mall (Mr Hooper can you confirm?). I’ve read about them, but that’s about it. Mark Hix and Simon Hopkinson swoon and speak in hushed tones about these speckled treats and they have a season so short you really could blink and miss it. So yes, I had to have one.
Very rich and very subtle with just a hint of the sea. On the side some homemade mayonnaise and celery salt . I could see to some they might not be worth the fuss and for others a touch rich. I can also see how they’d hook you. I liked it. Worthy revenge for that gull that stole my chips when I was young.
The wine list is certainly worthy of mention. It ticks all the boxes its considered and has some nice options by the glass and carafe. They even have a few obscurities to get the oenophiles excited – cue- Georgian amphora wine. Anyone who is familiar with their natural wines or attended the recent RAW wine fair will know these wines and they are starting to turn the critics head.
There is good attention to detail without it being over thought or naff. Everything including our water jug is English pottery and that feels in keeping . Downstairs the raw bar with its impressive seafood display sits next to bar proper and the rest of the room taken up by bustling groups of tables. The upstairs dining room is a little quieter though equally informal. There’s a nice booth set to the side of the rest of the room which would be good for a group.
Kicking off with a very decent Terrine its a promising start. A terrine that easily passes the test.
Green Shore crab bisque rich and velvety and had some decent chunks of white crab meat lurking throughout but it left me a little flat. I was expecting some more sweetness to come through but others will like its more classical flavour I suspect.
The Crab Salad was a different beast altogether. A generous pile of Sweet white crab meat well flavoured with and a good amount of chive mayo and brown crab meat on the side. No mucking about with the classic here. Everything spoke for itself. Not the cheapest, but quality seafood, rarely is.
Suckling kid I know this because these days even a cursory look at Twitter will reveal any number of people and Bloggers who were in before you for Lunch. On this day the lunch crowds looked better. Maybe with our later dinner I got the last of the rations? It was still pretty delicious, served simply with some greens, St Georges mushrooms and a rich creamy meaty gravy.
We almost skipped dessert / pudding. Earlier diners had beaten us to the the almond tart had been consumed sadly. The apple crumble looked a hearty portion enough for 2. Its served in the increasingly ubiquitous falconware enamel tins. But I like these – my mum used to make a rice pudding in a battered one and they don’t look out of place.
But I called the waitress back and went for the blackthorn jelly and cream. Thank god I did. A perfect jelly, tart and not too sweet. Served with nothing more than Ayrshire cream so sweet and delicious you could still taste it on the way home.
A simple great finish.
Newman St Tavern, Nr Goodge St, London.
(Interior Photo: Sustainable Restaurant Association)