Last time I was in Cornwall, it was at the height of British Summer time. Sea breeze, soft lush pale golden sand between my toes, and some of the tastiest food I have ever had.
The local produce was fresh, seasonal, and there was never a dull plate of food. The locals relish in their culinary traditions and make the flavours come alive.
So when I heard about Northbank, and their new tasting menu featuring modern British cooking with a Cornish influence, I was intrigued. What’s even better, is this view from their terrace. It offers some of the prettiest views from the North side of the river. And what’s more, it is just a stone throw away from St. Pauls.
We had a cracking start with a stunning cocktail menu in the bar. I wished I could have tried them all, but the sensible side did kick in just in time. It was very hard to resist! I think you’d understand if you saw dark chocolate martini on the menu, with a mixture of Cognac, Cherry Liquor, Clement Creole Shrubb and finest Belgian dark chocolate. Yum!
We were seated in front of the large floor to ceiling windows with direct view of the Shard in the distance and Millennium bridge on the right, while the the shimmery evening light reflected beautifully on river Thames.
These round and delicate warm bread with soft spreadable butter were brought to our table. We were then presented with a delicious complementary amuse-bouche – a golden elixir of carrot and honey soup with fried, salted kale.
First up on the tasting menu was the grilled Cornish mackerel with fennel salad in a dill emulsion and Tempura anchovies. I especially liked the savoury dill emulsion which balanced very well with the tender mackerel.
Next, foie gras brûlée was served with warm onion sourdough bread and bone marrow butter. Our foie gras was presented in these delicate little casserole dishes waiting to be scooped up and smeared all over those soft sourdough. Bone marrow butter was kept soft at the right temperature on these hot lava stone, which was especially a new revelation to me and would love to have one of these back in my kitchen!
Continuing the fish theme, I had my first taste of smoked Tamar eel with charred cauliflower, smoked almonds and crispy kale. The name of this dish was inspired by the eel’s origin. Tamar is a beautiful river at the border of Devon and Cornwall and probably one that’s worth a visit for me when I next return to the West Country.
With resounding nods around the table, myself included, we all loved this next dish of Cornish lamb rump and braised shoulder with garlic potato terrine. I always like my lamb soft pink with a charred outside rim and this plate did just that. Solid cooking with a perfect balance of flavours.
Then lastly, the mysterious catch of the day made its appearance sitting lovely in a bed of asparagus and fried crispy kale. Is it me or is this kale thing getting trendier, featured in almost every dish here! 🙂
The bubbly Head Chef Jason Merchant (ex-Claridges’s) and his team made a cameo appearance and also invited us into the kitchen to have a look at where the magic happens. And out popped this cheeseboard. Yep, after all of those courses, we were true foodies to not let this slip us by! There were still desserts to come…
Mine was this warm salted caramel and dark chocolate brownie with blood orange sorbet. The tartness of the sorbet worked very well with the rich gooey dark chocolate brownie, mixed in a love affair with the salted caramel. Always a winning combination.
As I looked out to the Thames with clipper boats flying past, Northbank had certainly brought back a tasty piece of Cornwall for me to savour in this bustling metropolis. And I’m looking forward to bring Mr. New Yorker back here with me.
Note: New Yorker Meets London was a guest of Northbank restaurant in London, courtesy of the management and also Squaremeal who put this event together. My review and opinions, as always, are my own.