SquareMeal Review of 21212
Set in a lushly refurbished Victorian townhouse, this one-off venture provides the setting for chef Paul Kitching’s forays into gastronomic performance art and leftfield experimentation. The ‘21212’ moniker should really be ‘31313’ as there are now three starter choices, then soup, three mains, then cheese and finally three desserts. Both lunch and dinner can involve the whole shebang, although you can have fewer courses, priced accordingly. Kitching is a “hugely talented” chef who is capable of conjuring up a daily riot of fantastical constructions ranging from scallop ‘pudding’ with barley, onion and sweetcorn, prune and macadamia, pink peppercorns and balsamic to ‘halibut, egg shells’ (a combo involving prawn, cauliflower, walnuts, crab, rice salad and soy). The jokes come thick and fast as the kitchen works its magic – note ‘10CC’ (a dish involving 10 ingredients, all beginning with the letter ‘C’). As expected, desserts also let rip, from ‘ginger-nuts’ (chestnut, cinder toffee, glazed meringue, black berry brûlée and ‘crème stem’) to ‘APPPs’ (described as a ‘rice cream chocy egg’). It’s all about high-wire thrills here, and the whole show is backed by “great service”.
21212 serves up modern European cuisine that has been endorsed by the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal.
Headed up by chef Paul Kitching, who previously ran Juniper in Greater Manchester, the restaurant also has four bedrooms.
Food-wise the five course menu changes weekly, but you get the choice of two starters, soup, two main dishes, cheese and to finish two desserts (hence the name). Dishes include the likes of Spanish barley stew, “hot dog-fish” with dill potato pickles and lemon and strawberry rice pudding.
It would make sense to go for the five-course meal given that is what the restaurant is famous for, but if the idea of that much food doesn’t quite appeal to you, smaller set menus are available and priced accordingly.
As with all good restaurants, all its ingredients are sourced locally, and the wine selection features bottles from all over the world.
If you fancy staying in one of the four rooms on offer above the restaurant – which resides in a Victorian townhouse – expect views overlooking either the city or the stunning garden, depending on which side you end up staying on. Interior-wise the rooms are simple and traditional, the perfect place to retreat to after your meal in the restaurant.
The long narrow dining room pays homage to its Victorian past with the original coving and peppermint colour scheme, but the luxurious seating and chandelier give it a modern touch which makes this dining room the perfect place to enjoy your meal. The tables are also placed to give you a full view of the open kitchen so you can watch as your unique dishes are prepared from start to finish.