One of the few Michelin starred seafood restaurants in London, located at the top of South Place Hotel with a pleasant outdoor roof terrace
This is one of the best value for money Michelin starred tasting menus I have come across (£60) and the overall result was also a superb meal. At the top of South Place Hotel in the city of London (nearest tube Moorgate), is a mirrored and diagonally shaped restaurant with a roof-terraced drinks area and a bustling bar on the ground floor. In food terms alone this was extremely enjoyable food and it was great of the kitchen to be able to do the 6 courses at a fast pace as I was in a rush. The fact that the kitchen and staff didn’t seem to flinch at this prospect showed its colours (granted I was the first to arrive, but others were not far behind me). I enjoyed every single course of this meal and this was a very good strike rate and would commend this as a new experience to anyone. As one of the few seafood Michelin starred restaurants in London and the UK, there are still meat and vegetarian options on the menu and this is my second visit, with an equally high scoring meal again. For the time difference between the two meals, I would say this reflects extremely well on this kitchen.
I was hideously early for this meal and needed to take refuge in the external drinks terrace on the top floor of the hotel, which now has sliding doors glass panelling for the colder months and this is an upgrade from the previous visit. Staff were very accommodating from the word go and the quieter drinks area immediately outside the restaurant and the bustling bar downstairs provide two decent options prior the meal depending on what mood you are in.
At the table, snacks arrived in the form of a prawn cracker with taramasalata, langoustine powder & lemon zest which was gorgeously deep and decadent with a bit of spice. A garlic crisp with onion gel and garlic emulsion was equally enjoyable and came prior to the sour dough (very hard shell) with caramelised butter with yeast (marmitey flavour).
The amuse bouche was a mini scotch egg of quail and English butternut and olive oil. As bites go this was definitely thumbs up and came with no problems at all. The first offering was the tuna tartare, avacado puree, shallots and chive. In more detail, this included wasabi, white soy, lemon, shiso, pickled black radish and a green shiso leaf on top fried in tempura. This dish was superb. There were a lot of components that had gone in to this dish, but strangely these did not make too complicated and was as light and aromatic as they come.
Octopus was next and came braised and charred with taramasalata dots, new potatoes, sea fennel (more sour and sharp than normal fennel – no liquorice) and bagna cauda sauce (which is made with red wine, and anchovy) served with deep fried baby squid. This was reportedly a new dish and along with the sweet squid ink sauce was another very good dish.
The main was pan-roasted cod, from Cornwall served with parsley root purée, parsley chantelle mushrooms, roasted squid and a red wine reduction. Again, this was perfectly cooked cod with an interesting simple presentation. The smoked butter mash on the side came with burnt leek powder on top (ever so slightly bitter) and was pleasant as a side of mash but did not rival that served at the L’Ateliers.
Pre-dessert was a buttermilk panna cotta, strawberry grape gel, fig purée, mixed with strawberry and hobnob crumbs with caraway seeds (looks like cumin but is sweet) , lemon, thyme and fig leaf oil. Although the was an interlude, it was absolutely delightful and I simply wanted more and more of it. The main dessert of chocolate pave had delightful textures and softness of flavours. My only gripe with this dish is that the placing of the olive oil pearls meant that some mouthfuls came with them and some did not and this completely changed the flavours of each mouthful (from either predominantly savoury to sweet and back again). However, it was certainly a more interesting dish with a modern play on salted chocolate. Petit fours were rosemary ganache and rasberry marshmallow with yoghurt powder and both pleased.
I was really happy at the end of this meal for all aspects – the service was professional, knowledgeable, accommodating and speedy on request. The price was a very good one considering the average tasting menu at 1 Michelin starred venues can be anywhere from £70-90 as the average and combined with the fact that the flavours were as good as they were makes this the second visit had and second time I’ve been really impressed with the experience. Although it’s not exactly a house-hold name as a restaurants go, this is a very option for lunch during the week (value for money) or a more snazzy Friday or Saturday evening. Definitely recommended.
Food Grade: 88%
A cracking little place at the top of South Place Hotel in East-Central London. Once you are past the rather strange design constraints of the floor (don’t be fooled by their photo online – it is a mirror on the right edge causing the symmetrical layout and the restaurant is therefore triangular in shape and long and slender at half the width!) this is a little gem which I am looking forward to going to again. For a 1 Michelin star, it is comfortably in the top bracket of its peer group.
The tiny amuse bouche cheese puffs were immediately superb and the menu was simply one of those that had all those comfort flavours you naturally like along with being stylish at the same time. To expand on this there was a superb creamed mash potato to go with the turbot when I was there along with a wonderful tarragon puree to go with the chicken. The fact that I can still remember those from nearly a year ago says enough about the food in itself.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)