The space: Hotel foyers are the new black. You only need visit Sea Containers at the Mondrian to see how this new hybrid space for socialising is working out well for restaurants. A throwback to Seventies opulent grand design, the hotel lobby was once the ultimate destination.
But Burdock’s look feels a bit too pastichey to be truly glamorous, incorporating too many buzzy interior trends (exposed brickwork, metal piping) in a confined space. There's also a breeze from the big unadorned doors - some curtains would bookend the restaurant and make more of a feature of the sliding doors themselves.
Food and drink: The all day menu is casual and gastro-inspired, and on it, the fine line between innovative and classic is well observed with dishes like the chilli chicken and soba noodles, served well - and smacking of its Asian herbs - in an oversized jam jar.
The menu is split into small plates and larger ones, billed for sharing, though the latter are essentially main courses suitable for a traditional a La Carte.
There's real care shown to make dishes both carefully theatrical, and packed with high quality ingredients. A talking point was what our waiter called a modern surf 'n' turf, the simply-named pork belly lobster (pictured below) with earthy greens. A wonderfully fresh melange of flavour and consideration from the kitchen.
Menu items tend to feature speciality ingredients in classic dishes (Monkfish kiev with curried slaw, and Brixham hake with cured ham and anchovy), and our guest had as much to say about his pheasant with chestnut pastry and quince as we did our lobster - two dishes that will turn heads for their ingenuity and expertise in flavour matching.
Yet the Freakshakes - the popular east London dessert extravaganza - simply weren't like the pictures, and without all the gut-busting ingredients falling from the top, they were a lot less fun too.
Would we return? We'd bring the whole family for these well-measured dishes with fun twists that taste like they need a higher price point (mains range from £9 to £11).
Burdock is a fine place to eat, though in its decorative turns it sometimes tries a little too hard to please the diverse folk that work nearby - a simpler design approach would merely allow the plates themselves their rightful place to shine.
|What||Burdock review, Finsbury Square|
|Nearest tube||Moorgate (underground)|
09 Jan 17 – 09 Feb 21, Burdock is a permanent restaurant opening in London