There’s something soothing about a visit to Noble Rot. As London restaurants become spendier and more glamorous by the month, Noble Rot feels more and more like a restaurant from a time gone by - there’s something about the dark wood, scrawled blackboard specials and flickering candles that feels like a comforting embrace, ushering you down into the depths of the welcoming bistro.
Noble Rot was a smash hit when it opened in 2015 - fast forward to 2022 and it has secured itself as a vital part of London’s restaurant fabric. The menu, like the surroundings, could be interpreted as a little austere, but the cooking is anything but. The signature slipsole, for example, arrives resplendent with no garnish - it’s just a slipsole, on a white plate, with a dribble of smoked butter puddling around the edges. It is sensational.
Forgive us for sounding like Gregg Wallace, but there really is nowhere to hide when you’re cooking food like this. There’s a plate of smoked eel with celeriac remoulade and a soft boiled egg, which is just the right side of runny. Palourde clams with chorizo and Manzanilla were equally delicious, though perhaps a little stingy on clam count, but a generous slab of chicken terrine is predictably excellent, rightly delivered with a pile of cornichons and crusty bread.
No restaurant has escaped the rising tide of overheads, but Noble Rot still feels like decent value for such good cookery. A bounteous plate of roast mallard comes with cime di rapa, a delicate slice of layered pommes Anna and a good spoon of quince puree, for £30. The set menus are still brilliant value as well. That’s important because this is a restaurant where you want to reserve some pocket money for wines; the wine list is a beast, and there are loads of top quality bins available by the glass. On all our visits, service has been perfectly-pitched - friendly, informative and refreshingly honest about wines. Noble Rot strips away all the smoke-and-mirrors and just delivers great food and drink - what more could you want?