Borough Plates

I’m sure I sound spoilt, but food reviewing is not always easy… after a couple of days of uninteresting eateries and dark rooms offering little photography options I was beginning to get downhearted about the job I know I am so lucky to have. Overeating in uninspiring restaurants is not much fun, but when you come across a venue presenting pretty, flavourful plates of seasonal British food my heart swells with excitement.

Borough Plates is a new pop-up from Cuisson and the Borough Market team that is housed in a beautiful 19th century building nearby to the market. The residency runs until March, with a tiny kitchen that uses seasonal produce from the market to create innovative and delicious plate of food.

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The set up is sparse but stunning. Using the natural light that floods in from the windows, and simple wooden tables, it is a cool contemporary space which lets the food do all the talking.

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The menu changes and evolves weekly dependent on produce available to the chefs. When I visited last week I tried locally made bread, wonderfully light Goujons of whiting with smoked garlic aioli and Pressed winter roots, suitable for vegans. It was the flavours of British winter, presented by chefs who truly know how to get the best out of the ingredients.

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The whole menu is designed for sharing. Of the larger plate section I particularly loved the delicate Poached brill with charred leek, chive and a buerre blanc sauce. It was the freshest piece of fish, treated with the utmost respect, and lightly complemented with a buttery herb sauce. Pork casserole with rainbow chard was a bowl of wintery comfort food, ideal after a cold morning wandering round the market.

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Dessert was a simple glass of ‘pretty-in-pink’ Rhubarb & custard, deliciously tart with a contrast of textures and tastes to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal.

My experience at Borough Plates was joyful. With so many other cuisines represented by the international restaurants at Borough Market, it feels like the right time for a British dining room to pop up. I’m wondering if I can return every week to review their new menu?

More information and book a table here.

Roast, Borough Market

Roast really does offer the very best of British. Located smack bang in the centre of Borough Market, they are ideally placed, with the highest quality ingredients available on their doorstep.

It was strange on a drizzly Saturday evening to be wandering through the empty marketplace. There was the odd lone cabbage leaf left unhappily wilting on the floor but really the place was miraculously tidy and clean considering the chaotic scenes just hours earlier.

Up a few floors, Roast overlooks the market and city, a very bright and smart, modern canteen offering a simple but exceptionally well balanced menu of classic (with a twist) dishes.

Unable to resist trying a new cocktail creation, we investigated the ‘seasonal tipples’: an ultra refreshing cucumber and kiwi martini for me and an utterly unique Bohemian Rhapsody for my brother.  The martini was well mixed with Grey Goose lemon vodka and sugar although perhaps the fresh fruit could have been strained slightly more to achieve a smoother texture. The Bohemian Rhapsody was a clever combination of Amaretto liqueur, Yamazaki whisky, fresh apple juice, fresh pomegranate juice, marmalade and caramel syrup – an inventive, attractive and great tasting drink.

Every day Roast offers a special, (a pricier richer dish for hungrier guests), for Saturday dinner it was Beef Wellington. Wishing to sample the high quality meats and vegetables, we both opted for little green starters, especially after munching our way through the basket of crusty bread and wonderfully yellow freshly churned butter.

The plates of steamed Norfolk Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce and Heritage Tomatoes on Toast with Water Celery and Shaved Berkswell Cheese were both beautifully presented – really vibrant and attractive food. The Asparagus was of the highest quality and so it should be for a £12 pricetag. My bruschetta-like starter was amazing, a pile of sweet cherry tomatoes, mature cheese, and torn fresh basil, a Mediterranean delight.

For mains we realised from the sight of dishes on nearby tables, that the portions here are not for the small stomached. I tried Chargrilled Launceston Lamb Neck Fillet with an Organic Spelt, Lemon and Herb Salad and Cucumber Yoghurt. The flavours were fresh and summery, but it arrived a little chilly. It was the perfect cut of meat, highly seasoned and well cooked, crispy round the edges, soft and tender inside. The salad, although there was far too much of it, was a light and healthy accompaniment, ideal for the health conscious. The steak was ginormous. My brother ordered it rare and though it arrived far from rare, the taste was full and succulent with a lovely burnt exterior from the chargrill.

A small dish of Burnt Cream followed in a terracotta dish… the English version of Creme Brulee. A lovely light dessert to finish the meal.

With the Jubilee just gone and the London Olympics only weeks away, it seems an appropriate time to experience the highest quality British food… and you’re unlikely to find it anywhere better than Roast.

Visit the ROAST website here for more information, menus and to book.