Friday, 9 June 2017

The Test Kitchen

Test lab

Raspberry, Wasabi, Buttermilk

I am a fan of Adam Simmonds, his performance at the Great British Menu from a few years back was such a joy to watch. Having experienced his cooking at Kensington Pavilion, when he was head chef there, I can just see how talented and creative he is as a chef. So I was delight to see he is making a comeback in London. Located on the former site of the ever popular Barrafina, The Test Kitchen looked pretty much the same just like before, it offered counter sitting only in front of an open kitchen, ideal for people who enjoy watching how chefs prepare your dishes. The Testing Kitchen is all about Adam dishing out experimental cooking and gaining feedback, before opening a permanent venue in the near future. 

Almond Milk Tofu, Peas, Morels
Quail, English Asparagus
Poached Scallop, Nashi Pear, Sesame
Rock Oyster, Oscietra Caviar, Cucumber

Our waiter suggested us to order 4 dishes per person from a short menu that contained about 15 dishes. Most dishes are tiny and I would say some are at amuse bouche sizes which you can finish in a few mouthfuls. The rock oyster with caviar and cucumber was a perfect summer dish, light and refreshing with a lovely seafood aroma. The poached scallop appeared to take inspiration from the Far East, with sesame and dashi in the mix. It was yet again another pleasant light dish. But the scallop could do with a touch more salt. It was hard to find fault with the Lamb dish, the meat was tender and worked strangely but wonderfully with the milk skin texture. The garnish of King oyster absorbed all the lovely meat taste and added a touch of earthy element to dish, it was my personal favourite dish on the day. 

Halibut, Morels, Broad beans, Wild Garlic
Lamb, Salsify, King Oyster, Pickled Shallot
Yeast Parfait, Lychee, Puffed Rice
Milk Chocolate mousse, Whisky, Coffee

The quality of the cooking was pretty solid, as was the presentation. However, I really didn't get the format of the menu and the cost was pretty expensive considering how small each dish were. The dishes I have eaten would perhaps work better in a tasting menu format for about 6 courses at around £40 per person, another suggestion would be either increasing the portion sizes or reducing the cost of each dishes by about £2. As I felt the current pricing is at a very premium level and there are restaurants nearby that can provide better value. It would be interesting to see what Adam end up with in a year's time, as I am sure he will continue to develop and refine his menu.

Food 3.5/5

What I paid: 

£29 per head (Soft launch offer)

Average cost without drinks and services:


54 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SL, UK

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