REVIEW: The Fitzrovia Collective

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It feels like such a long time ago now but I lived in Fitzrovia from 2005 – 2010. I lived in a wonderful flat just off Goodge Street. Back then the food scene was limited to only a few good restaurants. I spent most of my time drinking in Charlotte Street Hotel (oh how I miss those days) and dining at Fino (now sadly closed).

For special occasions I would head to Pied à Terre or Roka. I’d often meet friends in Soho or Mayfair for meals out. Now the area has completely transformed, it’s bursting with amazing restaurants – I regret ever leaving!

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When I heard that chefs Jun Tanaka (The Ninth), Ben Tish (Salt Yard) and Allan Pickett (Piquet) were collaborating for a special event: ‘The Fitzrovia Collective’ I knew it was a night I couldn’t miss.

Plus I recently visited The Ninth and was totally blown away by the skill in the kitchen – so knew this event would be a winner.

‘The Fitzrovia Collective’ is a series of one-night-only dinners offering a six-course tasting menu with the option of wine pairing.

The evening began with a wonderfully crisp Lampo Prosecco served with House bread sticks with anchovy and crème fraiche mousse (Piquet). Followed was Salt Yard’s delicious Pinchos of slow cooked Dorset snail, Iberico pancetta and potato – the Iberico had just the right amount of fat.

Our favourite of the night was the Flamed mackerel, pickled cucumber and sea pursiane cooked by The Ninth.

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Up next was Piquet’s heavenly Roast seabass with yeasted cauliflower purée and mushroom persillade.

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To finish was The Ninth’s Tart Tatin – it was an absolute thing of beauty! The pastry was light just how it should be and the caramalised apples – just wow. It was served with rosemary ice cream, a first for me but it didn’t disappoint.

I left the restaurant happy and content my only regret of the evening was that I was no longer a of resident of this blooming neighbourhood.

Dish of the Week

This week we pay homage to a dish that we (literally) can’t stop dreaming about…

The Shy PR team recently visited the newly opened Galley in Angel. Our  meal was superb – truly sensational. But one dish that really stood out was their ‘Ham Hock & Smoked Mozzarella Croquettes’. We may be a little biased as we’re croquette obsessives here, but this was truly melt in the mouth. It had just the right amount of texture on the outside and was meltingly soft on the inside – heaven!

If only we could get them to deliver to Brixton our Friday would be complete.

www.galleylondon.co.uk

Restaurant Review: The Good Egg, Stoke Newington

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There’s not many places we’d travel for an hour to get to but we’re pleased to say The Good Egg is most definitely one of them.

The Good Egg is a casual neighbourhood spot on Stoke Newington Church Street serving up Middle Eastern dishes with a touch of American influence. The room is light and airy with a scattering of tables and high-chairs overlooking the kitchen counter. On weekends, the queue is inevitable and even during the week this place has everyone’s attention. The Good Egg is an all-day café serving brunch, lunch and dinner and it was our turn to find out what the hype was all about for brunch.

First to arrive was the House Granola. Now we’re not usually ones to rave about granola, but this one was absolutely exceptional. Filled heartily with nuts, seeds, cinnamon, cloves, granola, yogurt, date syrup and topped with beautiful in-season rhubarb. Equally delicious (but less of a surprise as we were practically drooling at just the sound of the dish) was the Bacon & Date Pitta: pitta stuffed with streaked bacon, marbelized egg, date jam and amba mango pickle. The delicious blend of sweet and savoury made this an instant crowd pleaser. And finally, the Shakshuka for the table. Delicious baked eggs in a rich, flavoursome sauce of tomatoes, peppers, preserved lemon yogurt and sumac. We had the option to add some chopped up merguez sausage and took it – we recommend you do the same! We finished every last bit of sauce with the help of the challah roll which soaked up the juices wonderfully.

The only way to complete the brunch was with a batch of fresh mint tea and satisfied belly rubs. Welcome to the good (egg) life!

The Good Egg – 93 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0AS

Restaurant Review – MUD, Tooting

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When looking for a good brunch spot in South West London, Tooting has it going on.

If you were to ask any Tooting-ite where a good place for brunch is – then we guarantee they’ll all say the same thing: go to MUD.

MUD is a brunch lover’s dream and due to the queues outside every weekend, is rather a popular little spot. It’s an independently run, Antipodean-style café just off the high street that serves up one hell of a brunch. We went along one late Saturday afternoon and were greeted with the inevitable (but thankfully short!) queue. We were kept entertained with a coffee and before we knew it, we were escorted to our table inside the tiny albeit charming café.

The menu is short but classic, with everything from eggs any way to buckwheat pancakes. We couldn’t resist the Corn Fritter Stack – delicious corn fritters, avocado, chilli jam topped with a Burford brown egg – or the added extra side of streaky bacon to go with it. And the avocado and poached egg on sourdough (of course, with a side of bacon) was a heavenly thing to behold.

We teamed our dishes with a bowl of sweet potato fries to share (totally unnecessary given the brunch dishes generous portion size but too good to pass on) and washed everything down with fresh juices, mint tea and coffees.

Brunch at MUD won’t disappoint and it’s definitely worth the wait, so make that trip down the Northern Line for a truly satisfying brunch experience.

Website

141 Mitcham Road, Tooting, SW17 9PE

 

Restaurant Review: Naughty Piglets, Brixton

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There’s much more to Brixton’s foodie scene outside of the famous Village, home to a vibrant mix of independent restaurants and bars. We went along one lunchtime to a restaurant that not only had gone under our radars for far too long, but one whose name actually sums us up rather well.

Naughty Piglets is a fantastic little find on Brixton Water Lane – a ten minute walk if you’re coming from the station. It’s a small affair; there’s an open-plan kitchen with an eight seat bar, three high tables in the front room, and an intimate dining room in the back. It also happens to be very charming and we were instantly smitten.

The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team Joe and Margaux Sharratt, Magaux was there on our visit, busy tending to each table making sure that everyone was taken care of. The menu is short and changes weekly, but we were definitely not short of choice: each dish sounded heavenly, it made us almost want to order the lot. Ruthlessly we narrowed it down, our top five didn’t disappoint.

First to be served was the melt-in-the-mouth ham croquettes, some of the best we’ve ever had – we guarantee that you’re probably not going to want to share these. Next out was a deliciously light Boudin Noir served with fresh cuttle fish and capers, followed shortly by the Roast Cod with a wonderfully intriguing peanut dip. But the highlight, without a doubt, was the Grilled Pear with Jerusalem artichokes, blue cheese and hazelnuts; we’ve simply never had a dish like this. The flavours complemented each other perfectly: every mouthful was pure bliss.

Sadly, we didn’t have the time to try anything from the desserts – or sample any of their wines for that matter – but that just means we simply have to go back immediately for dessert and wine. That’s something we’re definitely ok with.

28 Brixton Water Lane, SW2 1PE

020 7274 7796

www.naughtypiglets.co.uk

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