SquareMeal Review of
Growing from a successful pop-up, Native has now settled in this compact Covent Garden site, bringing foraged ingredients and a daily changing modern British menu to Neal’s Yard. The venture is run by Imogen Davis (a falconer) and Ivan Tisdall-Downes (chef-patron and River Cottage alumnus) and consists of a ground-floor open kitchen with a few counter seats – the best spot to view the action – and a snug basement dining room decorated with plants and tree bark. On our visit, vivid yellow pickled pear was overpowered by intense Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, but carefully cooked roast hake fared much better, partnered by deep-fried cauliflower pakora to create a tasty contrast of soft flesh and crisp spiciness. A comforting plate of venison hash beneath a fried egg and broad-bean tops arrived in a generous portion for £11. Our highlight, however, was the rhubarb and custard dessert, scattered with chunks of coriander honeycomb and infused with meadowsweet: a blend of sweet, sticky, fragrant and fresh in one mouthful. The drinks list champions Gloucestershire’s Three Choirs vineyard alongside European wines, but Native’s trump card is its genuinely friendly atmosphere. Anyone seeking good-value British food at a restaurant buoyed by sheer enthusiasm should look no further.