SquareMeal Review of
Will Lander’s Portland is a rare thing – a thoroughly grown-up, relaxed and “cosy” restaurant that deals in neighbourhood fine-dining without a hint of stuffiness. The cool, “understated” dining room is as dashing as a Savile Row suit, with its dark-wood flooring, Scandi furniture and watercolour portraits – all leading towards chef Merlin Labron-Johnson’s Michelin-starred open kitchen. The menu wows without overcomplicating things, and every dish “hits the heights” – from a show-stopping snack of crispy chicken skin loaded with rich chicken liver parfait to a little bowl of silky crayfish flan with a foamed, buttery bisque. Elsewhere, simplicity also reigns – witness thick, creamy mozzarella topped with the last of the summer’s tomatoes, tarragon leaves and earthy kombu seaweed or a dish of translucent cod with squid ink, hazelnuts, kale and a plump oyster. For dessert, strawberries atop a yoghurt cake with cashew-nut butter really highlights Portland’s use of stellar ingredients. “Textbook” wines are listed on the back of the menu, “friendly” staff are “attentive but don’t hover” and portions are big enough to “satisfy a rugby player” – in fact, it’s hard to have anything less than a “great experience” here.