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.

Borough Plates

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.

ONA at Platform 1, East Dulwich

It is increasingly difficult for young, talented chefs to open up their own restaurant in London… which is why street food and market stall offerings are getting better and better. Passionate foodie and South Londoner Chloe Gounder-Forbes identified the need for a testing ground for chefs and started up Platform 1 as a way of showcasing a programme of inspiring cooks and their exciting inventions.

ONA at Platform 1

Platform 1 is found on Lordship Lane, a street in East Dulwich which is becoming increasingly foodcentric. For homemade pasta I can’t resist Burro e Salvia and Brickhouse Bakery is my go-to brunch favourite. Platform 1 is a little more unconventional, feeding diners with unique and creative cuisines. When I visited last month, Chef Marcelo Henriquez from ONA Chilean Kitchen was in residence.

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We started with a refreshing aperitif, a spicy ginger mule to get us in the mood for the flavours to come. Chloe encourages the chefs to offer a different five-course menu each week (priced at £35 a head), so locals can visit often and try a range of dishes. Our menu for the evening consisted of: Baked oysters with bacon & green salsa, Corn-fed chicken skewer with roasted garlic emulsion and tomato lime, Ceviche of mackerel with pickled radishes, avocado fried squid, ginger & lime, Slow-cooked 18hr beef, chargrilled to serve with mashed corn, raisins, black olives and pebre salsa. Then for dessert we shared the two dishes between us: Burnt marshmallow meringue with red wine jelly, walnut sponge, dried strawberries and Blueberry tart with honey cream and berries.

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Marcelo had chosen to bring his own crockery for the dishes, and the black really made each recipe stand out. Luckily it tasted as good as it looked… The recipes were clever and delcious, the chicken skewer took on a lovely barbequed aromatic hint whilst the ceviche had a punchy and addictive dressing. The main course was a high quality chunk of immaculately cooked beef with a caramelised edge and an accompanying mashed corn that made me really consider why I don’t use corn more in my own kitchen.

ONA at Platform 1

Desserts were a little more style over substance. The plates looked like works of art, extremely Instagram suitable, but the blueberry tart pastry was a little soft and bland while I found the burnt meringue and red wine jelly overpowering together. But this slightly disappointing final course could not distract from the stunning four savoury dishes I’d eaten prior to pudding.

Whether you make it in time to try the ONA menu or not I highly recommend paying Platform 1 a visit. The exciting food here will take you on an exotic journey… far far away from South London!

More information about Platform 1 and book a table here.

Hot on the Highstreet Week 265

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The Basics Store is a brand new, temporary pop-up shop curated by Marina Guergova of Marina London. It is located amongst the trendy boutiques on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. The stylish edit of clothes and accessories showcases a range of young British designers as well as Marina London’s own silk garments.

The concept shop features designers who share a love of the everyday essentials, and the small space displays the items in a simple but beautiful way. Hanging on the rails are Blake LDN’s luxurious and flattering knitwear and beautiful pieces from Marina London 100% silk basics collection. To complete the look you can buy cool and contemporary crafted footwear by Dear Francis and Danielle Foster’s high quality leather bags and accessories. There are two lovely cabinets of jewellery by of Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris, which would make great gifts. I adored the quirky selection of fragrances from the Avery Perfume Gallery, with scents from Santa Eulalia and Roads.

The Basics Store is a creative place, during its short occupancy it has hosted talks by inspiring start-ups and successful young companies, including The Hardihood, Crude Juice and Qnola. The wonderfully rustic Petalon Flowers have been offering their floral bunches to visitors once a week and music has been provided at the front of the shop by talented acoustic artists.

With such a thoughtful range of ideas it seems a shame that The Basics Store isn’t here to stay. Let’s hope Marina sets up shop somewhere in London permanently soon.

The Basics Store is open until Monday 13th July 2015.
Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm.

30a Redchurch St, London, E2 7DP.