|Portland, photo from management|
Portland, a brand new opening on Portland Street, not far from the BBC Broadcasting House, is the talk of the town at the moment with the owners already having a great understanding of the London dining scene with experience at Quality Chop House and 10 Greek Street. Personally, I usually avoid restaurants when they've just launched, the first few months will be driven by PR hype (which mean hard to get a table) and the restaurant itself is at a learning stage of testing as to what works and what doesn't. Look no further than Fera at Claridges, the 16 course tasting menu was reduced to 6 courses within the space of a few months. But, I love both Quality Chop House and 10 Greek Street, with an ex Michelin chef running the kitchen, it sounds like a winning formula to me.
|pig's head croquette|
|roasted pumpkin soup, yoghurt|
|mackerel, beetroot, wasabi|
The menu is modern British in principle, a la carte with choices of snacks before you start the actual meal. Elder smoked trout failed to impress me as the fish itself was very ordinary and the so called cultured cream tasted not much different to your home made mayonnaise. Another starter, the mackerel with beetroot had a dreadful presentation but the taste however was great, the rich meaty fish worked beautifully with the earthy beetroot and the wasabi wasn't overwhelming to the finish.
|Elder smoked trout, cultured cream|
|Fallow deer, charred lettuce, mole|
|monkfish, baked onion, cider|
|red legged partridge, wild mushrooms, smoked game tea|
Main course of partridge with wild mushroom was a greatly executed dish, the gamy meat had a great depth of robust flavours sitting in a sea of light but delightful meaty tea, almost like a super posh version of chicken and mushroom! Even better was the monkfish, perfectly cooked, really moist and the classic use of onions and cider offered the dish a soft and settled touch. However, the star of the evening has to be the Fallow deer, so tender and blessed with powerful rich flavours that can rival a top cut of porterhouse steak.
|coco bar, peanut butter praline, peanut ice cream|
|rice pudding Seville orange honey ice cream|
All too often British cuisine has been viewed as boring and lacking imagination, however Portland is totally the opposite and it showcased some really solid cooking with great use of seasonal British produces. Portland has all the ingredients to become a great success, all the 3 main dishes I tried on the day was top notch, the kitchen clearly has skills and given time to adapt to all the feedbacks, I really can see Portland becoming one of the hottest restaurants in London in 2015.
Merlin Labron Johnson
What I paid:
£40 per head
Average cost without drinks and services :
£35 - £45
113 Great Portland Street, London W1W 6QQ