SquareMeal Review of
A tie-in between maverick money man turned rookie restaurateur Luca Longobardi and whizz-kid chef Chris Denney (ex-Viajante and The Square), this laid-back neighbourhood eatery is a mash-up of mesh chairs, bare light bulbs and Portobello Market crockery in a brick-walled, concrete-floored space that references 108’s former life as a garage. Denney also trained as an artist – something that’s apparent in still-life compositions such as pink slices of presa ibérica draped in a silky veil of lardo or a blackened hunk of ‘Jacob’s ladder’ beef adorned with a pretty jumble of dill-pickle tartare. His “refreshingly imaginative” approach to ingredients is akin to “food alchemy” (according to one disciple), as he wows diners with flavour-bombs that expertly balance rich satisfaction with startling sharpness: creamy veal sweetbread offset by charred king cabbage, say, or translucent slices of pickled fruits cutting through tangy Cheddar crumbled onto a sweet cracker. By contrast, the rest of the operation is refreshingly laid-back, with “surprisingly reasonable” prices and young staff who are engagingly friendly – if not always on the ball. Still, chilled-out locals are thrilled to have a chef of Denney’s talent on their doorstep.