Deep Fried Egg in Moroccan dukkah with yoghurt dressing
Eel Brook Common, New King’s Road, London SW6 4SE
Lincolnshire smoked eel
here is always a new neighborhood to be discovered in London. The residents of Eel Brook Common in Fulham are lucky indeed: lovely houses around a good sized park and the food of Chef Brett Barnes. Barnes has had a fantastically varied career, training with Anthony Demetre of Greek origin, British celeb Chef Mark Hix and lastly, Magnus Nilsson from Sweden. Clearly he has taken something from each master and created a style of his own. In Sweden, Barnes worked at Fäviken where they hunt, fish and forage on the restaurant’s 20,000 acres. Eel Brook Common doesn’t offer quite the same bounty but it does provide a lovely backdrop. Designer Haruo Morishima has melded indoors and outdoors into one. Open, light and airy, the beech wood and beamed ceiling give it a distinct Scandinavian feel. It has the quality of a local restaurant. Casual and friendly, with sofas for lounging and yards of terrace, heated for year round al fresco
dining, and with efficient waiters, serving with flair and fun. The menu is divided into small plates, starters, mains and desserts. Because we thought the small plates really were small, we ordered three of them to share, one starter and two mains. (In truth we did this because we are pigs!) Grilled Squid with coriander mojo (£6), courgette flowers with Portland crab and mayo (£7) and pork rillettes with cornichons and toast (£6) were all reasonable in size and perfect for sharing. The mojo, a pesto-like sauce originally from the Canary Islands was fabulous and the squid, tender as can be. The rillettes were light and juicy. Less fat than usual, they were more like pulled pork. The zucchini flowers, crab and mayo were all very light, offering little contrast. Either the stuffing or the mayo needed a bit more kick. Our appetizer, Lincolnshire smoked eel, beetroot, sorrel, apple and horseradish (£9) was the high-
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick light of the evening. Eel is something I first learned to appreciate in sushi and later, in Danish cuisine. This was as good as I’ve had. Beautifully cured and the sweet, sour, acid punch of the salad cut the fatty eel perfectly. Maple cured pork ribeye (£18) is a glorified name for back bacon, albeit thick and top quality. The juices from borlotti beans, baby gem and romesco made a wonderful broth. Elwy Valley lamb tenderloin (£18) was slightly overcooked but the caponata, rich with olive, was scrumptious and crispy sage made the dish sing. The wine list is small but interesting. I particularly enjoyed a glass of Falanghina 2013 (£8.25), dry and fruity with just a hint of resin. Mango mousse was sadly off, so we ended up with a gorgeous caramel panna cotta and a rich dark chocolate delice (£7). By now our three small plates were coming back to haunt us. We really thought they were small!
September - October 2015 33
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