Diners put themselves at the whim of chef/proprietor Gonzalo Luzarraga at this eccentric little restaurant, allowing the man himself to create his own vision of Franco-Italian cooking with a few global influences thrown in.
There are only 22 covers in the simple room, which allows Luzarraga the luxury of preparing everything himself – you can be sure that what is served is exactly as he wants it, even though some of the results may seem a little odd.
The tasting menu delivers 10 or more plates, while the carte offers the option of three or four courses (plus lots of extras) – so allow plenty of time and prepare for a cavalcade of seriously clever and bold ideas. To start, there’s always a collection of snacks – perhaps a delicate tartlet of rabbit rillettes or two weeny Parmesan waffles with mortadella cream sandwiched in between (looking like a mini strawberry ice-cream wafer but tasting like a cheese toastie).
Some of Luzarraga’s offerings are superbly good: a bagna càuda with sea urchin and a soft poached quail’s egg (served in the sea critter’s shell); a creamy serving of spaghettoni, enlivened with ‘colatura di alici’ (anchovy extract) and dotted with yeast from Camden Brewery; chestnut cream served with porcini ice cream. Others, such as a dish of chopped translucent beef tendons, served with fresh peas in mussel broth seasoned with Ethiopian pepper, may not ultimately find their place on any permanent menu.
The wine list is as personal as the food – it’s worth trusting restaurant manager Frederico Dadone’s expert pairings because he knows what to expect from the menu. Either way, prepare to be wowed by the astonishing line-up of once-in-a-lifetime vintages.