THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: Roast, Borough Market

As a regular visitor to Borough Market I had seen the sign for Roast nested above the stalls on many occasions, thinking every time that ‘I must give it a try’ before being swept away by the market crowds or distracted by doughnuts. Taking the stairs, we were welcomed into the main dining area. I was taken back by the size of the space and the wonderful early evening summer light that poured through the windows from almost every angle. On one side, we had views of St. Paul’s and on the other the hustle and bustle of the restaurants below.

roast

As I spread a generous layer of butter on my bread, I was tempted by a couple of Italian wines from the list until we were told about an English white from Kent. I was curious to try it as it’s not every day that you see a selection of English wines on a menu. It was light and floral – lemons and gooseberries – fresh, chilled and worked well with our food.

roast

To start we shared the chorizo scotch egg with piccalilli and the poached salmon with mixed bean salad. Both dishes were served on plates that complimented the vibrant colours of our food. The scotch egg was served warm – the smoky, crisp chorizo and soft egg were brought alive by the tangy, fiery piccalilli. The salmon was instead a very delicate dish. You could taste the freshness of the fish with subtle hints of dill that coated the crunchy beans and gems of wholegrain mustard gave an extra kick.

roast

The variety of well sourced meats and fish on the menu made deciding on a main hard. We chose a classic – pork belly. The first thing I loved about the dish was the portion size, there is no chance of going home hungry. The mash was buttery and smooth, the pork had the perfect contrast of crackling and soft meat that was full of juices and herby flavours, whilst the sweetness of the apple sauce cut through the salty rich gravy that was also served generously. The silence while we ate said it all.

Roast

For pudding, we shared the white chocolate set custard with cardamom poached strawberries and honeycomb and the apple and raspberry crumble with almonds and vanilla custard. The pretty shades of pink, white and pistachio green were summer on a plate. The set custard looked like a panna cotta but it was thicker, creamier and had an intense hit of white chocolate. The strawberries and honeycomb brought texture and a sweet zing. The crumble had the perfect ratio of crunch to squidge, the fruit was tart whilst the warm vanilla custard brought the pudding beautifully together. A super strong espresso finished off the meal perfectly.

The prices are high but if you are looking for fresh, seasonal dishes that celebrate the best of British food for a special occasion Roast definitely ticks all the boxes. The service also shouldn’t go unnoticed, our waiters were knowledgeable, attentive and friendly.

More information and book a table at Roast here.

Written by Lara Pace.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: The Restaurant Club

On your first birthday you don’t normally host a traditional Argentinian asado (that’s a BBQ to me and you) but then again, the Restaurant Club, who has just celebrated their one year anniversary, aren’t like any other one year olds I know. On one of the hottest days of the year, it seemed as though Kate and Louisa, founders of The Restaurant Club, had been given a heads up as they decided to host a gorgeous asado on Gaucho Hampstead’s outdoor terrace.

Gaucho Hamstead

The Restaurant Club started life as a Facebook group, set up by food and travel writer Louisa Walters, which was a place for London food enthusiasts to share experiences about different restaurants they had tried out. The emphasis was then, and still remains, on smaller, independent restaurants. Very soon, restaurants started to notice surges in attendance due to the ever growing Restaurant Club Facebook group. At 20,000 members, Louisa brought restaurant enthusiast Kate Posener into the business and together they set up a loyalty card scheme- think Tastecard but with specially handpicked restaurants, suggested by London’s keenest foodies. With the loyalty card, diners get up to 50% off at nearly 200 of London’s best independent restaurants which have all been vetted by the Restaurant Club team. The Restaurant Club’s website is beautifully designed and easy to use, with handy categories like ‘Doggy Friendly’, ‘Pre/Post Theatre’, ‘Midweek Treat’ and ‘Worth Getting Dressed Up For’ to name a few.

Gaucho

Gaucho was the perfect location for the Restaurant Club’s first birthday celebration – although it is a chain, the restaurant has not lost its soul – which is exactly the type of establishment you find in the list of Restaurant Club participating restaurants; you could tell that each piece of exquisite steak or sausage was cooked with finesse by the wonderful Master Griller, Fernando Larroude. Beautifully fresh tuna ceviche, divine empanadas, exquisitely cooked pieces of different cuts of steak and Gaucho’s own sausage all featured at the asado (as well as on the regular menu) and were accompanied wonderfully by different wines, as suggested by Gaucho’s Director of Wine, Phil Crozier. Dessert was either a dulce de leche ice cream, or a Malbec sorbet (for the more adventurous attendees!)

Congratulations to the Restaurant Club on its first birthday. If the success of the past year is anything to go by, I expect that there will be many more birthday celebrations to come.

The Restaurant Club have an offer for TMM readers which allows you to get a Restaurant Club card for just £10 (normally £30). Just use the code GAUCHO20 at checkout. Code expires 31 July 2017.

Written by Angelica Bomford.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: Wolf II, Finsbury Square

As a second generation Italian, I’d like to think I know a bit about Italian food but I’m (sometimes unreasonably) sceptical about eating anything other than my family’s home cooked fare. So when Milly asked if I’d review the new WOLF II in the city, I was a little dubious but I’d heard great things about the original so off I went in the blazing sunshine into the depths of the city.

Wolf II

The restaurant is situated in the shiny new Finsbury Square nestled amongst other similar venues and towering office blocks. There are a few tables inside, but we chose a table outside in the sunshine. Don’t expect to have a table to yourself though. The outside area is shared with neighbouring food outlets and understandably gets very busy, especially around lunchtime.

We started off with a couple of Aperitivi: A classic Aperol Spritz and an “Inglese” a cucumber-based gin and tonic with San Germain, both of which were delightful.

Wolf II

A ‘May’ salad and a Burrata starter came swiftly after ordering. The salad was light and full of flavour, a little sweet for me, but the pickled rhubarb was a nice addition. The burrata was lovely but then again, burrata is very easy to love and it sounded much more exciting on paper than it actually was (with pomegranate molasses, balsamico, new seasons olive oil, dehydrated and fresh tomatoes finished with iced basil).

We also ordered two of the four pasta options, an orichette with parsley root and tenderstem broccoli and a wild boar pappadelle. The orichette was quite pleasant, the parsley root gave a lovely earthy quality and the broccoli was well cooked. The pappadelle was, sadly, a let down. The flavour of the ragu was good but it lacked sauce and had I suspect had been sitting around for a while before it was served to us as it had started to dry out and stick together.

Wolf II

By far the star of our lunch was the wonderful polenta cake. Moist, just the right amount of sweet and bursting with orange flavour, it was a delightful end to an otherwise rather average lunch.

If you pay a visit to Wolf II expecting Wolf original standard food at cut prices, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed but it’s a perfectly acceptable place for a quick lunch.

More information about Wolf II here.

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Miss, Giovanna Ryan.