Hot on the heels of The Frog E1 in Hoxton, MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Adam Handling has opened this more formal all-day flagship in Covent Garden.
It’s clear that Handling is looking to make himself a household name – his cookbook greets you at the reception desk, his name is emblazoned on staff aprons, and the moody basement bar is themed with Adam and Eve imagery. Self-indulgence aside, The Frog’s five or eight-course tasting menu impresses with high-octane combinations, including butter whipped with chicken fat, topped with crispy chicken skin and served with sourdough, and razor clams shrouded in dry ice.
We opted for the five-course menu, starting out with impressive warm savoury doughnuts, oozing cheese and topped with shreds of earthy black truffle. Other highlights are a tender helping of Iberico pork made sharp with kimchi and smoky roasted cauliflower, and an intriguing veggie option of a papery slice of celeriac folded over apple, date, egg yolk and thick cream.
A knowledgeable and chatty sommelier explains unexpected wine options, such as the light pink, fruity number that comes with dessert. The final course is just as ambitious – a chocolate-covered marshmallow conceals bursts of raspberry with vanilla ice cream, while a mango and coconut cheesecake offers a lighter option.
Handling is also aware of the rising popularity of meat-free and plant-based diets, offering an alternative tasting menu alongside the regular offering which is entirely vegetarian. On that menu, you might come across dishes such as roasted gnocchi with squash and chestnuts, as well as a concoction involving cucumber, gooseberry, oyster leaf and dill.
With its Instagram-baiting dishes and unique flavour combinations, it’s clear that Handling is on to a winner with The Frog, which was impressively busy on our mid-week visit. It’s safe to say that he has made the leap into chef stardom.