42 � squaremeal.co.uk
MUST ORDER Persian goat stew with turmeric and pomegranate juice
LIKE THIS? TRY THESE Casa Brindisa 020 3544 2486
Top-notch tapas in South Ken Daphne's 020 3641 1874 Old-school Italian at
Brompton Cross La Brasserie 020 7768 1686 London's �rst all-day brasserie
MUST ORDER Shrimp and yuzu toastie
264 Brompton Road, SW3 2AS 020 7100 2200 £££
With the Absolutely Fabulous movie hitting our screens, there
couldn't be a more perfect time for the rebirth of what was �e
Collection - the quintessential 1990s fashion restaurant now
transformed under wunderkind chef Tom Sellers.
�e catwalk entrance remains, and the interior is as stylish as
ever, though the 90s industrial chic is now softened by tactile
details, such as slate walls and velvet banquettes.
At Bermondsey's Restaurant Story, Sellers is famous for his
modernist cooking, but here he shifts gear into brasserie-style,
appointing fellow Tom Aikens alumnus Daniel Phippard head
chef. Nevertheless, Sellers' CV boasting stints at Noma is often
evident; prices are high and portions small.
Reasonably priced and delicious 'snacks' were our favourite -
especially when accompanied by knockout cocktails served at the
bar. Ibérico ham croquetas were yielding and gooey, and best of
all was a shrimp and yuzu toastie (a creamy prawn cocktail mix
interleaved with citrusy yuzu in a crisp grilled sandwich).
Starters proper include a comforting orb of burrata lubricated
with good-quality oil, and a pretty arrangement of crab and apple
overlaid with avocado: expertly handled flavours, but in a smaller
portion than the snacks for twice the price.
To follow, charred without, pink within Galician beef sirloin was
excellent and as au courant an ingredient as a smoky side order of
roasted cauliflower. But we were less taken with our other orders.
Four king prawns with garlic and
seaweed were prepared sous vide with
that raw-yet-cooked texture (a taste we
have yet to acquire), while the garlic was
an overpowering aïoli. For pudding,
îles flottantes balanced rather than
floated on a heavy passion-fruit sauce.
Service was faultless and the vibe
from the open kitchen engaging, but
we left feeling that a boundary-pushing
chef in casual mode doesn't make for an
entirely comfortable dining experience.
16 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP No telephone ££
�e Barbary Coast was the European name for modern-day
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. �e term evokes
images of an exotic land of traders and pirates, where nowextinct
Barbary lions roamed free - and it also provides the
inspiration for the second London restaurant from the team
behind �e Palomar.
Like its big brother, �e Barbary offers an enticing blend of
Israeli cooking with Mediterranean ingredients and influences,
but also adds North African spices and cooking techniques
to the mix. Eyal Jaegermann, previously senior sous chef at
Palomar, is in charge, helping to produce the same warm
welcome and lively vibe as at the Soho restaurant.
�e cosy interior echoes a North African courtyard, with
a bustling open kitchen at its heart where you can watch the
chefs at work. No bookings are taken and there are just 24
counter seats. Breads are freshly baked: warm Jerusalem
bagel comes with a traditional paper twist of za'atar spice for
dipping; a pillowy naan is perfect for scooping up dollops of
smoky baba ganoush.
�e short menu
is divided into land
(meat), sea (fish) and
dishes - all deftly
spiced and seasoned
to make flavours sing.
We were transported to
the Middle East with
rich, meltingly tender
Persian goat stew, slowcooked
for eight hours
with turmeric, root
veg and pomegranate
juice. Perfectly grilled
swordfish was simply
served with capers,
roast garlic and vine
tomatoes, while chicken
(its skin spicy and
charred) was balanced
by some creamy labneh.
Desserts are deeply
sweet and fragrant:
hashcake (no, not that kind) is a rich pistachio, oat and brown
sugar tart; Beirut nights (a semolina pudding with rose syrup)
lives up to its name with enticing flavours. Another bonus
to �e Barbary is its short but interesting drinks list, which
encompasses trendy orange wines, vermouth and arak.
This thoughtful list features
food-friendly grapes and
majors in French wines, with
support from Spain, Italy and the
New World. Prices rise steeply, with
no bottles below £32, but decent
by-the-glass choices are a safe bet.
BEST BUY Cuvée Léon Côtes du Rhône
2014, Domaine de la Guicharde,
Rhône, France, £36.
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