Cherubic looking Parry takes a gentler, non-macho approach to the fire power culinary genre and his ingredients really sing. Rather than the smoky bravado of Temper – and despite the kamado-style burners and fiercely hot wood-fired oven that looks like medieval torture gear – his approach is to accentuate what makes the flavour of the fish or beef (all UK sourced) so superlative.
BRAT is apparently the old English word for turbot; and whole turbot grilled directly on the coals to share is the dish that will immortalise BRAT. It will be on the menu only between April and June when the fish is at its gelatinous best, so book now. It is grilled in specially made turbot shaped wire baskets over charcoal to give it stickiness and a slight char. It is then rested in the mouth of the wood oven to relax the flesh and allow the gelatinous juices to run. Parry whips up these delectable juices into a Basque style emulsion that guests baste the fish with at the table. It is a brilliant for a celebration. We ate the fish simply served with extraordinary Sicilian tomatoes just dressed in good olive oil.
Besides the fabled turbot expect: sea trout cooked over cedar wood; Herdwick lamb chop; and Jersey beef chop.
To start, the light whipped cod's roe on lightly charred toast is a must, as are the anchovies with an incredible butter, or the oysters cooked over seaweed.
Next time, I hope the special, caviar like sweet peas from Geteria (a fishing village close to San Sebastian where cooking turbot over coals is de rigeur) will be on the menu. I love the idea of trying them in a broth with Welsh Carmarthen ham, allegedly the precursor to Parma ham.
The cheesecake baked in the wood-fried oven is fantastically light, yet tinged with whispers of smoke. It is rich, creamy, addictive and eclipses every cheesecake recipe I've experienced before. It is even more satisfying served with lightly cooked rhubarb and blood orange (in high season on my visit).
The wine list compiled by the new importing company from the founders of Noble Rot, Keeling Andrew & Co., is excellent – not greedily priced and strong on sherry.
Entered by a bright yellow door, the oak wood-panelled dining room has a warm, convivial feel. Who would know it was once a notorious strip club! The intimate feel is accentuated by the tables being closely-packed and there being no division between kitchen, serving, bar and dining area. Guests are in the thick of the action and love it – even the most serious looking bearded Shoreditch creatives. Parry will bring the dish to your table himself and start spooning over the juices on the turbot, as if he is serving up a roast at home.
Price: £120 dinner for two, including turbot, with wine. Diners are welcome to come in for snacks at the bar too.
|Where||BRAT, 4 Redchurch Street, London, E1 6JL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Liverpool Street (underground)|
02 Apr 18 – 02 Apr 19, Open lunch 12-3pm Tues-Sat; dinner 6-10pm Tues-Wed, 6-11pm Thurs-Sat; Sun 1pm-5pm