British casual dining has come a long way since the time we'd go to Maggie Jones for their heavy rabbit stews and oftentimes over-salted potted shrimp – just barely 2 decades back. We loved the food at the Ritz and the Savoy then (back in the 80s/90s), but couldn’t really afford to have them that often. Wiltons was beautiful but too stuffy, so’s Simpson’s-on-the-Strand. Rules was nice, but a bit too touristy.
Fast forward to 2012, and we’re practically spoilt for choice by all these modern, uber-trendy spots offering simple, trad-British cooking using the freshest, carefully-sourced ingredients.
Dinner this evening was at Hereford Road, helmed by St John Bread & Wine alumnus, Tom Pemberton. What we had:
- Beetroot, Sorrel and Boiled Egg - light, crisp bouquet of delicious vegetables, a feast for the eyes as well as pleasing to the palate.
- Roast Quail and Redcurrant - simply roasted & served unadorned, the skin crisp a perfect golden-brown all round, with perfectly moist flesh within. A squeeze of lemon was all one needed to fully appreciate the flavour and texture of the bird.
- Blythburgh Pork Belly, Swede and Kale – the pork had the perfect crackling: thick, crisp, biscuit-like. The pork itself was juicy and flavoursome.
- Braised Rabbit, Fennel and Bacon – very nicely done, subtly herbed to complement the rabbit’s assertive flavours. The fennel and bacon add further sweet and savoury dimensions to the dish.
- Treacle Tart and Creme Fraiche – slightly too sweet for me.
- Warm Rice Pudding and Jam – served warm, this was *utterly* delicious – a simple childhood favourite, but elevated to Olympian heights here by the use of premium ingredients. I’d come all the way back here just for this.
3 Hereford Road
London W2 4AB
Tel: 020 7727 1144