Headed up by Simon Rogan, who also owns two-Michelin-starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, this compact Marylebone restaurant serves up exciting and innovative food.
Rogan is an avid champion of humble vegetables, choosing to grow much of the produce that makes it to his restaurants on his own farm in The Lake District. This respect for homegrown goods translates into dishes that are thoughtfully executed with vegetables front and centre stage.
Forcing you to surrender yourself to the better judgment of the kitchen, the menu choice here is limited to two tasting options: a full or a short one (although the short still comes in at seven courses).
A piece of baby gem is treated like steak: marinated and cooked on a plancha grill before being dressed with truffle and house-pickled mushrooms. This unique handling gives the whole thing an unexpectedly robust and meaty feel.
Elsewhere there’s blushing duck with crisped skin, precisely laid out on an earthenware plate, accompanied by intensely earthy duck hearts and a sharp gooseberry sauce. A pre-dessert took Tunworth cheese and whipped it into an almost-mouse-like consistency that fell somewhere between sweet and savoury and came swirled with cherries and topped with crushed hazelnuts. A cheesecake, of sorts, that bridged the gap between mains and desserts and left us confused and contented in equal measure.
Drinks flights for each of the menus feature a selection of biodynamic, natural and English wines, and if you’re not drinking alcohol there are seasonal softs on offer. On our visit it was a lemon verbena spritz, all floral and fizzy. Staff are welcoming and deliver each course with an in-depth explanation (which is in contrast to the menu that comes sealed in an envelope and mentions a maximum of three ingredients per dish).
A little taste of the restaurant is offered to take home following your meal; the Cartmel classic of sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce, for instance, in a classy iteration of a party bag and demonstrates the generosity of spirit which sums up the restaurant’s warm ambience.