Any restaurant that cooks from its own garden and then offers a wine list that states, ‘a short winelist for people who hate long winelists and with affordable, not outrageous priced wines’…zooms to the top of my absolutely favourite restaurants list.
A Londoner friend who stayed in our Tasmanian house knows I like my food and wine and so tipped me off about this restaurant. And it was so incredibly convenient, just a 3 minute walk from our hotel likely to be the reason she remembered to tell me about it.
A little more preamble – it is a restaurant – at the Frontline Club, a charitable Trust that champions independent journalism and freedom of speech. They hold regular discussions, screenings and although it is a club, these activities are open to the public as is the restaurant.
Frontline’s produce comes from its farm in Norfolk and animals reared there are allowed the luxury of free rent and are welcome to range in its fields. The walls are hung with black and white photographs of some of the world’s most familiar and dramatic images.
We both ordered the endive and fennel salad as we loved the combination and it did not disappoint with it’s textures and contrasting flavours tickled even further with slices of mandarin and pink grapefruit then scattered with some roasted cashew nuts. The oil vinegar and mustard dressing was emulsified just enough to lightly coat the salad. We found it hard to leave any for the free ranging pigs or chickens back in Norfolk.
Being the only imbiber of alcohol I chose a glass…. from a wine list ‘curated’ by Malcolm Gluck, a not cloyingly sweet Prosecco Spumante Congegliano de Valdobbiadene, Ca’ Morlin.
For my main course of lamb a glass of Bobal Tempranillo 04 Spain. Not because I thought it would be an ideal match but because I am a fan of tempranillo. Gluck is not the house sommelier but a wine writer of high repute in UK of wine columns in many newspapers.
My main of rack of lamb came with a generous serve of broad beans, pearl barley and small bowl of mint jelly with a pleasing touch of sharpness. I asked for the meat to be cooked medium rare but I have to report that it was borderline uncooked-rare but I figured if I was to send it back it would be overcooked so I doused it in the remaining warmth of the sauce. Having photos in blogs is an advantage so you can see the evidence. When I was a ‘paid’ restaurant reviewer and had to report on a failing or two…I had to be cautious and prayed I would be believed but here is the evidence. Many a restaurateur or chef would absolutely deny anything was wrong with a dish when you complained after the event. So glad I don’t have to make it official and hopefully my blog readers trust me completely.
John had the beer battered whiting sitting on a mash of green peas and with the best hand cut chips in a bowl, the chips overshadow the fish in the photo but the batter was a bit on the dark side for my taste (oil has been used a few times before) but then I was only looking at it, it was not my dish that night.
Having said all that I am still going to return, all the elements of a good restaurant were there, we were happy with the service, good choices on the menu, loved the atmosphere.
If you want to know more about Frontline or how to find it – Frontline Club website.
Keep following me as I am writing more on my adventures in Britain. Roz