46 � squaremeal.co.uk
3 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP
020 3638 8214 ££
What do you get when you cross a falconer, an ex-River Cottage
chef and a former surfing shop in Covent Garden? A creative,
great-value British meal and a hearty welcome, that's what.
Native began as a preserves business, then owners Imogen Davis
(bird expert) and Ivan Tisdall-Downes (chef-patron) took the
pop-up route to this permanent site, bringing foraged ingredients
and a daily changing menu of 'native' Britain to Neal's Yard.
�e compact space comprises one table and some counter seats
beside the open kitchen, along with a snug basement dining room
decorated with plants and tree bark. �e fun is at the counter
seats, but if you prefer some peace, choose a table downstairs.
Sourcing much from Kent and Devon, the kitchen team
creates the likes of fallow deer tagine with wild garlic, or woodpigeon
kebab with beetroot hummus and pickled cabbage. On
our evening visit, vivid yellow pickled pear was overpowered by
intense Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, but the roast hake fared
much better with its partner of deep-fried cauliflower pakora,
creating a tasty contrast of soft flesh and crisp spiciness. A
comforting plate of venison hash beneath a fried egg and broadbean
tops arrived in a generous portion for £11. Our highlight,
however, was the rhubarb and custard dessert: scattered with
coriander honeycomb and infused with meadowsweet, producing
a balanced blend of sweet, sticky, fragrant and fresh.
But Native's trump card is the atmosphere: one of strippedback
informality and genuine friendliness. Anyone seeking fairly
priced British cooking at a restaurant buoyed along by sheer
enthusiasm should look no further.
MUST ORDER Rhubarb and custard with coriander honeycomb
LIKE THIS? TRY THESE Angler 020 3641 8344 Michelin-starred
�sh suppers and �ne City views Bonnie Gull 020 3641 0646 Bright and breezy
British �sh specialist that feels like Fitzrovia-on-Sea Outlaw's at The Capital
020 3641 5804 Cornish catch-of-the-day from seafood superstar Nathan Outlaw
105-106 Upper Street, N1 1QN
020 3670 0740 £££
Islington continues to excel as a 2016 dining destination with
the opening of this fish-focused bar-restaurant from Polish
siblings Marcel Grzyb and Oriona Robb. �e interior was
designed by Robb; an eclectic decor of green-velvet banquettes,
Moroccan tiles and vintage rugs. Heading the kitchen, Grzyb
has 18 years' experience at Soho seafood specialist Randall &
Aubin, and his menu takes inspiration from around the globe.
�e large all-day list contains small and large plates (there's
also an enticing brunch menu). A meal might start with a tower
of yellowfin tuna tartare, stacked with soft mango and avocado,
and drizzled with sticky teriyaki; or smoky-rich octopus and
chorizo a la plancha. Mains span the ocean, from John Dory
with saffron mussel sauce to a majestic lobster pappardelle.
Our sea bass, fragrant with truffle, came atop plump gnocchi,
bobbing in a broth of wild mushrooms, peas and courgettes.
Scottish venison 'three ways' (pulled, croquette, steak) was
a star dish, meaty-rich and comforting thanks to smokedpotato
mash and sticky thyme gravy. For dessert, pannacotta
had the perfect creamy consistency and was prettily presented
with a scattering of honeycomb, flowers and sour blackberries.
A compact bar area fronts the restaurant, and its drinks list is
worth investigating. Along with traditional and contemporary
cocktails, plus appealing Old and New World wines, highlights
include dessert cocktails such as Coco Popping (Coco Popsinfused
Buffalo Trace bourbon, popping candy and cream).
Come winter, grab a pew at the bustling counter for a
front-row view of the action, but in summer Galley will
doubtless need a full crew as its French windows are flung
open to the pavement, and crowds flock to the bar.
MUST ORDER Yellow�n tuna tartare with avocado and teriyaki sauce
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