Newly awarded Michelin starred restaurant for 2019 guide from a wood-fired open kitchen
As many of the dishes were repeat selections from my first visit this is a short review. However, this supper of sharing plates and nibbles typified why I like this venue – there is a completely unpretentious feel about it and the £3.50 for wonderful cod’s roe on homemade sourdough, the £3.50 homemade sourdough with onion butter and velvet crab for £4.50 are worth coming here for in themselves and I am unaware of many other Michelin starred venues where you can be full for £11.50(!). The beef tartare (£9.50) was wonderful to have again and the only ‘ok’ moments were the actual mains in comparison, not just the elevated price points, but the duck simmered at pleasing as did the lemon sole, although it was good to see this not messed around with too much. The cheesecake was again stunning, not surprising when its recipe is taken from a Pintxos bar in San Sebastian called La Vina where this is the only thing they make…and is done to near perfection. I would heartily recommend a drop into this woodfire grill restaurant.
Food Grade: 69%
Brat is Shoreditch’s newest addition to the Michelin starred family for 2019 from chef Tomos Parry. It is a trendy looking restaurant (which ones in Shoreditch are not these days?) with an open kitchen that operates using wood-fired grills only. A very narrow and steep staircase needs to be climbed to get into the restaurant on the first floor of what used to be a strip club in times of old, so there’s a change of speed. There is a long bar for walk-ins and in general, there are a large number of good value options as snacks and bites. I would not class this as a strong Michelin starred experience, but our visit was fleeting at the same time. That said, if you want to pop in for a quick top up of very good value snacks, this is perfect…as long as you are not on crutches or in a wheelchair, as this might slow your entrance down a tad.
As this was a brief drop in, we took advantage of the very reasonable snack selection which is sometimes a much better way of doing things for lunch as it a) saves money, b) allows more choice, c) means you are not stuck with a huge plate of something if you end up not being keen on it and d) is way quicker whilst being full at the same time! The whole menu fits on to a double-sided sheet of A4 with the dishes only describing one word meaning the staff need to know their stuff (which, on our visit they did). It’s worth mentioning that in terms of fizz, the excellent Hambledon English Sparkling Wine, as well as the Michele Gonet champagne 2010, are only £13 a glass each and that is an absolute snip for the normal going rate for opening fizz in a restaurant.
Prior to its grilling, the bread came from Dusty Knuckle bakery in Dalston. This rye sourdough was served with onion powder and salt which were welcome additives but it simply needed more of the onion powder as was actually hard to trace. However, with the drizzle of olive oil and the whipped butter, this is almost as good as a course on its own and a far cry from stale, dry and boring horror shows of non-care bread thrown in to a basket as many bog standard restaurants do, which I simply can’t even look at now, based on bread examples such as this.
The grilled bread with chanterelle and winter truffle shavings was also pleasant – light and fluffy on the inside with a pleasing texture around the outer parts and decent fragrance of mushroom and truffle. The cod’s roe was smooth, creamy and not overly salty with a good proportion of roe to bread base so these were a distinct pleasure. The spider crab salad was quite a sight with the crab sprawled out in its entirety and its oil being able to be mopped up from its open chest rather like it is served at The Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco.
The steak tartare was very good with its controlled use of pickled and allium parts with the rump being cut into nicely judged sizes (not too small). By the time we had finished these, costing a total of just over £15 each so far, it was time to asses the big guns of the dessert which I clocked on the way in immediately. These light and drum-like cheese cakes were exactly how I saw them in a Pintxos stall in San Sebastian’s old town (at a place called La Vina) and on asking the staff if they were similar, my sources were indeed correct as it is the exact same recipe used from this venue. When it is this good I can understand(!); the trick is to make sure it is pulled off and I was delighted to find that it was. In fact, so much so, that another slice had to be ordered to take away in a little carry out box(!).
The bill came to a total of £62 for two with a glass of fizz and as we were both very full at the end having had a Michelin starred lunch, I’d say that was pretty good value. Of course, it was an unconventional lunch and if you ate here with a starter, main and dessert properly, you’re looking at anywhere between £35-80 for one person, based on which main course you opt for which vary in price considerably. Oddly, the restaurant has a feel about that makes it more conducive to have the snacks or series of starters than the full on a la carte, but I will reserve judgement on that and explore the menu more on next visit and hope to be pleased with doing so.
Food Grade: 70%
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