London restaurant of the year contender
|Treacle cured salmon|
For me, The Ledbury is the best restaurant in London and chef owner Brett Graham is a living legend in the fine dining world. So it was only natural for me to take notice when an ex Ledbury chef set up his own restaurant. James Cochran's restaurant in East London was launched in late 2016 and since then it had gathered some very positive reviews from the press. Just from reading the sample menu online got me excited, it had some very well thought out ingredients combination and the price seemed to be very reasonable. Not to mention that his restaurant had a hidden bar downstairs: BYOC, which was one of my favourite cocktail bars in London.
|Grilled duck liver|
For the first two courses: I found the game tea would have work better as an amuse bouche together with the grilled duck hearts instead of serving as two standalone courses. As the game tea had a lovely savoury flavour which I think would have work well with the mild profile of the tender hearts. Next, the pickled white crab was an unusual but delightful dish, the crab still retained some lovely sweetness and the lemon really added depth, it was a very refreshing dish.
|Pickled Cornish white crab|
|Jamaican jerk buttermilk chicken|
|Kent coast seabass, roast onion tea, sea vegetable|
Just when you thought it couldn't have got any better, the Herdwick lamb was a stunner. The meat was wonderfully moist and full of richness, together with the earthiness of the artichokes, along with the smoky creme fraiche turned the dish into such a bold, powerful tasting dish without being overwhelming to the palate. Aroma, texture, flavours, visual.... it had everything you would have wanted from a fine dining point of view, it was an exquisite dish.The dessert wasn't half bad either, the buttermilk ice cream had a lovely milky aroma, and everything on plate worked in harmony, from the crunchy texture of the white chocolate to the sour tone of the clementine.
|Herdwick neck and haunch of lamb|
|Buttermilk ice cream|
The meal was like a roller coaster ride for me, but without the fall part. It started off at a good standard but finished off on such a high. What I really admire was James seemed to be taking a different path compared to all the "trending" fine dining restaurants out there, such as The Clove Club and Lyle's. Instead of just being stuck to simplicity, there were plenty of flair and ambitious flavours in James' cooking.The overall quality of the meal deserved a Michelin star without a doubt, all he needed was just more time to nail down the consistency and to refine all of his wonderful ideas. I see a bright future for James Cochran in 2017 and beyond.
What I paid:
£60pp with a glass of wine
Average cost without drinks and services:
£50pp long tasting menu
19 Bevis Marks, London EC3A 7JA, UK