Places To Eat In London: The Pickled Hen, Marylebone
I’ve got a brand new opening on the border between Marylebone and Marble Arch for your today: The Pickled Hen. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner (which is where we went one weeknight) don’t let the fact it is part of a hotel put you off, the atmosphere is lovely, the dining room is stylish, the menu is imaginative (but still comforting), and the food is excellent. We went on a weeknight and had a simply lovely evening, sitting together by the window watching the rain outside with a lovely bottle of Malbec.
We knew we were in for a fantastic meal when your starters arrived. I had The Chicken & The Egg, a perfectly breaded chickens egg with a still runny yolk (very difficult to get right) served with smashed peas and pieces of chicken terrine. All the flavours were beautiful and fresh, and it was both a fantastic dish in itself, and it got me rather excited for the rest of the meal. He had the Pork Belly Fritters, beautifully crisp and rich in the middle (not fatty at all) with a wonderful light slaw of sweetheart cabbage and some apple mustard. I was allowed a bite of these (for reviewing purposes only), but not any more!
The Pickled Hen have partnered up with sustainable food brand Rubies in the Rubble, which transform less than perfect fruit and veg that would otherwise be discarded into pickles and condiments. You get a selection of their range to try with your starters, and while they matched the pork belly fritters better than my egg (indeed, none of the food we had required any extra embellishment at all), I was rather a fan of the spicy tomato relish and the banana ketchup.
I really, really loved our mains. While we were in a chicken restaurant the fish dish really took my fancy, so I had the sea bass with cider mussels and pearl barley, served in a light broth with tomatoes. This was a wonderful, delicate, comforting and flavourful dish. The fish was flaky and tender with a nice crispy skin, the mussels really had taken up all the flavours of the cider (so often the only flavour in mussels comes from what is put on them, rather than what they have been infused with), and the barley was wonderfully toothsome – I will admit to it being one of my all time favourite grains, certainly in some sort of soup or broth.
However, surprisingly (he felt like a bit of a cop-out ordering it) the star of the show was the chicken tika masala. We did not expect it to come deconstructed, so were both taken with how striking the spiced chicken half looked served alongside a fresh mango and onion slaw, and little pots of creamy sauce and fluffy perfumed rice. I tried a good amount and it was beautiful, one of those must-order dishes.
Dessert was a bit of a disappointment, not in what we had, but because I’d had my heart set on the Egg & Soldiers, but they were not available that evening. You can spy them in the back of this Instagram, so perhaps I’ll have to go back to sample the hollowed out eggs full of rich white and dark chocolate mousse with brioche soldiers? Anyway, we got the chocolate brownie served with melting honeycomb, hot chocolate sauce and Jude’s vanilla ice cream to share (it comes in two sizes, solo and sharing) which was a lovely, rich, decedent end to the meal. If you’re sharing dessert people (we are) this is a lovely idea to polish things off with.
Thank you so much to The Pickled Hen for inviting us along for dinner! This is a great place to go for a date night or to meet friends after work, but they also have an excellent looking, traditional looking breakfast menu, and a great lunchtime offer where you can get two courses from a paired down menu for £13.50 per person (which is really, really great in this part of Central London!)