Radish, Celeriac and Pomegranate Salad at Bocco di Lupo

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“Earthy”, “Deep”, “Woody”, “Complex” – words that you might naturally associate with truffle. The impact of these fungal morsels is usually to deliver a rich, comforting elegance matching a creamy sauce – the height of indulgence. So “crisp” and “fresh” wouldn’t normally be the first thing you’d expect from a salad dressed with truffle oil. Yet this is what Jacob Kenedy has achieved with Bocca di Lupo’s simple yet superb salad.

“[Y]ou’re not going to make a lunch of a plate of these roots”

Whisper-thin slices of radish and celeriac make up the bulk of the platter, with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds adding sweetness and titbits of pecorino hidden away to deliver a salty, nutty zing. A light, citrusy, truffly dressing plays off these simple, crunchy vegetables and makes what would risk dreariness something special.

Okay, so you’re not going to make a lunch of a plate of these roots, but the ethic of this up-market trattoria is to encourage the sharing of a number of plates from across Italian regions and cooking styles, and you should make sure you do so. Interestingly, prices are no real indication of sizes of dishes, and you can easily eat well here very cheaply, or quite expensively, as your budget, mood, and company takes you.

Just make sure you don’t forget to pop across the road to their sister ice-cream parlour, Gelupo, for surely London’s best cone!

Kebabs at Antepliler

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Time Out equivocated quite badly at Antepliler. Their chosen dish – ‘kebabs’ – identifies a number of different offerings at this upmarket Turkish restaurant, right opposite Ottolenghi on Upper street. Judging by the two kebab dishes Rachael and I ate, I’m pretty sure every one would be superb, and I wouldn’t complain about having to work my way through the full kebab section of the menu.

“I’d definitely take my parents here, and I’m sure they’d enjoy the pixel-perfect cooking with top-notch ingredients in a relaxing and cosy environment”

Getting the best of both worlds, we shared lamb kebab dishes – one with shallots in a pomegranate syrup, and another on a bed of spicy tomato sauce. Both were succulent and full-flavoured, but also very distinct with individual attractions. The shallots and pomegranate offered a homely, rich, oniony stew, with tart flavours balanced by sweet fruitiness. The tomato version could almost be an Italian dish, matching the straightforward meaty punch of the lamb with a tomato sauce with a warming chilli heat that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tuscan meatball braise.

Despite the ‘variations on a theme’ nature of the kebab offer, they do change the menu relatively regularly, which shows an awareness that they’ll probably tempt people back, and an admirable refusal to rest on their laurels. The food is delicious, and clearly the work of a chef who’s still enjoying experimenting, and sharing his creations with the restaurant’s lucky patrons.

The venue itself is a breath of fresh air – a Turkish place not afraid to shy aware from hookahs-and-accoutrements, rustic weaving and landscape photos (sorry, a stereotype I know, but there do seem to be endless London Turkish cafés that match the description). I’d definitely take my parents here, and I’m sure they’d enjoy the pixel-perfect cooking with top-notch ingredients in a relaxing and cosy environment. One to return to.

Chicken livers at Yalla Yalla

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I don’t like livers. Or should I say, I still don’t like livers. I can’t point to a particular aspect of them, though the taste is obviously the main thing – I just don’t like them and doubt I ever will. So I’d been worried about this dish and am, frankly, glad to have it over and done with.

“I’d hoped it might go some way to converting me”

To be fair, the pomegranate molasses marinade this was served in was delicious, and right after the bite the dish was pleasant enough. But then the aftertaste hits, with all its irony, bitter, bloody notes and I’m afraid I want to wretch. I didn’t make it through my whole bowl, and nor did Rachael.

I also thought this needed to be served with bread or salad, though to be fair we could have ordered sides.

All in all, this was never going to be the dish for me. I’d hoped it might go some way to converting me. It didn’t.

100/100 dishes in London.