Tuesday, 22 November 2011

North Road Restaurant St John Street review - simple, elegant and well executed

Picture from North Road Restaurant

Address: 69 St John Street,
London EC1M 4AN
Tel: 020 3217 0033
Nearest Tube station:
Barbican/ Farringdon

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £25pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ****
Service: ****
Ambience: ****
TT don't often take a break. When she does, she eats well. This time round, it's a trip to North Road Restaurant.

It was a few years ago. I was on holiday in Copenhagen with a couple of friends and having completed our sightseeing earlier than expected and with time on our hands, we sought out a restaurant highly recommended by the guidebooks. Alas it was full and the receptionist seemed bemused that we thought we could get a table without reservations despite it being a weekday. Of course I didn't know it then but I had missed out on the chance to dine at Noma now reputedly the world's best restaurant.

We didn't manage to dine at any of Copenhagen's finer dining establishments that trip so when I found that a modern Danish restaurant had opened near St John's to good reviews, I made a note to go. I was at North Road Restaurant on a chilly autumn day and found its tastefully decorated warmly lit rooms very welcoming.

It was a rather quiet day they had probably only three covers. I went for their set lunch menu which at £20 for 3 courses seemed value for money for such a restaurant. The bread rolls were served in a quaint little tent secured by a peg. Very fresh, one of the better breads I had in a while.

I had raw cured scallops for my starter accompanied by brown butter mayo and coastal herbs with sprinkles of rye. It was love on first taste. I loved how the salt was balanced off by the edge in the herbs and how the soft flesh of the scallops contrasted with the crunchy rye.

I had Herdwick mutton rump for my main which came with wafer thin Jerusalem artichokes and little butter-like balls speckled with sea salt apparently fashioned from the oils in which the meat was cooked. It was good, the flesh was just the right shade of red and while the meat yielded easily to the knife it had just the right amount of bounce and bite.

Poached pear served with birch ice cream was my desert. It was a simple dish but very well executed. The service was very attentive, perhaps due to the small number of covers that day. There was a misunderstanding over my choice of desert, the service staff thought I had ordered a different desert but replaced it with a smile and without fuss.

I had a lovely time and am now a fan of the Danish way of cooking. Now if only I had tried Noma...

This is a guest post by TT, a regular contributor to London Chow and London Expat.  

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