DL NOVEMBER FOOD REVIEWS
3 RESTAURANTS WE RECOMMEND MONTHLY. AND A DISH OF THE MONTH
CHINESE LAUNDRY ROOM AT MOUNTGROVE BOTHY
The girls from Chinese Laundry Room are back with a bang at elegant wine bar the Mountgrove Bothy just off the Blackstock road.
A triumph from the ‘three induction hobs’ they occupy, the food is clever, delicate and singing with traditional flavours. The stand out dish was striking black dumplings covered with rich sesame sauce, velvety soft and a comfort for the mouth to eat. As a spiking contrast, tangy smashed cucumber with fantastic additions of soft mushrooms and tofu.
A crispy yet gooey egg gifted to us in a lettuce leaf had hidden heat from Sriracha and sweet from mango, a beautiful dish.
Although hailed as dirty Chinese food there is nothing dirty about it, the dishes leave you feeling clean and content. The changing seasonal menu certainly invites a return trip.
£70 for two including 3 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.
Smokestak is instantly aesthetically fitting, wood on exposed steel on cast iron, it is very steampunk, industrial and brash BBQ. Cocktails are also on theme; fire, punchy and well worth ordering.
Feeling contented in a joint where meat is at the helm and handled with according respect, we devour melting smokey brisket paired with hot chilli and sweet fatty pastrami served with pickles and mustard under brown paper.
Salt baked beetroot, charred goats curd and hazelnuts is good, yet sea bream crudo refreshingly cuts through the meat dishes with acidic grapefruit, spicy jalapeno and pickled ginger. Lardy sides of mustard rarebit jacket potato and corn on the cob dripping in miso butter are satisfyingly delicious.
£103 for two with cocktails and a bottle of wine
MODERN PANTRY, CLERKENWELL
Modern Pantry boasts a menu that draws total global influence but still remains clean and calm. We start in the middle east with huge pillowy sweetcorn and date fritters blanketed in a citrus sauce and dashed with pomegranate seeds. Then to India for dried curried crab wrapped delicately in a shiso leaf. Crispy Bombay mix-esque peanuts and puffed rice give texture and the sweetness of the crab is expertly complimented with spices, lime & ginger. So fresh, so zingy.
The stand out dish is a marriage of unexpected textures, flavours and dimensions, making it unlike anything we have eaten and for me the dish of the month. A chunk of sticky sushi rice deep fried is the ultimate in gooey umami flavour with a satisfying crunch. A quenelle of what looks and kind of tastes like tzatziki is finally chopped tofu with cucumber and wasabi undertones. An eye-opening victory. Brought together with a tart peach relish and zesty avocado puree, pure unadulterated vegetarian heaven.
£50 for two