Places To Eat In London: Bread Street Kitchen, St. Paul’s
Just a bit of a mini blog post today while I get some of my longer Wednesday reads finished off (you may not have noticed this, but I do my best to get a brand new recipe up every Monday, a new food article or review up every Wednesday, and either Weekly Love or a new Weekly Meal Plan up on Fridays) because I wanted to share a few snapshots from a quick lunch I had a few weeks ago at Bread Street Kitchen in the heart of the City. Usually I find celebrity chef restaurants a bit so-so (it’s owned by Gordon Ramsay) but as you’d expect from someone who spends so much time criticising failing restaurants (I’m addicted to Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen USA) it was actually a really, really enjoyable meal we’d still have loved if it had just been some random independent.
You can get a carafe of wine to share rather than just bottles and glasses – something I always encourage from a wine list, but I suppose is also great given it’s location as somewhere frequented for working lunches, and the cheapest French white on the menu (usually what I go for when I’m not sure) was rather good. By way of nibbles, because they sounded rather fun we got the ‘nujda filled gnocchi. Okay, so they were less like gnocchi and more like mini potato croquettes stuffed with something rich and spicy, but they were still rather good.
It’s a bistro menu with world flavours, and we both went in a pan-Asian direction for our starters. J had the Tamarind spiced chicken wings because, in most basic fashion, we had a bit too much choice so started to scroll through what other people on Instagram had eaten and posted, helping narrow down our choices with the helpful addition of visuals and seeing what were the most popular items. They were nicely cooked, tender on the inside and crisp on the inside, covered in a nice tangy sauce. A bit much for one person, though. Perhaps a sharer?
I had the spicy tuna tartar. It was rather good and I enjoyed it, though I think I might have done better going for my other nearly-ordered choice, the snow crab California roll. The portion was generous, it looked elegant and all the different elements, the wanton crisps, the avocado puree, the soured cream and the tuna tartare tasted really good, but I think they were not balanced quite right by way of quantities on the plate. Oh, and the tuna had been mushed a little, not enough care had been taken in chopping it. But as I said, still really tasty.
It was our mains that made it a really fantastic meal. I had the slow-roasted pork belly, intact, impossibly crisp shard of crackling still intact on top, served with a hearty jus, an apple puree and an apple salad on the side. Yes I should probably have had sides, but I was actually only after a light lunch and aside from a strange acidity to the apple salad it was perfect, perfectly cooked, wonderfully elegant and an all round good dish. That pork just melted in my mouth, the jus was perfect without being too savoury, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.
However, it was the butter chicken and cashew nut curry served with saffron rice and a popadom which was the very best thing we ordered. Rich, tender curry, aromatic, fluffy rice, while I was quite in love with my pork I can’t pretend that I did not have a serious case of order envy watching him eat it!
In spite of its sheer size, I’d try and book at table as Bread Street Kitchen does get rather busy. Also, the next table were having something you can only order ahead, the big beef wellington to share, with all the trimmings. It looked absolutely amazing, and is reason enough to head to St. Paul’s for a special occasion. In a district of London almost entirely populated by branches of Itsu and Pret a Manger (usually with several different locations on the same street!) you can’t really go wrong – I’ve certainly had some other awful meals at indies in the area!