No wonder chefs all over London rave about Shoreditch hideaway Rochelle Canteen as one of their favourite restaurants. We do too.
So it is brilliant news that Rochelle Canteen have opened a second restaurant at the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall. Most interestingly, the food is set to be inspired by the installations as well as the seasons.
It may appear incongruous that the ICA, renowned for being such an avant-garde art space, should choose the adamantly classic Rochelle Canteen, but it is a fitting choice given their impeccably cool credentials. Co-founder is Margot Henderson, married to St John’s Fergus Henderson, alongside Melanie Arnold, whose son Fin Spiteri runs the show. Spiteri also prepares delicious definitive classic cocktails – don’t miss the negroni!
The all white dining room couldn’t be plainer but the beautiful light is incredibly serene and calming. Jars of pickles and jams are arranged on one wall as if they were an exhibit in the contemporary art space below. It is wonderful to gaze at the autumn colours of the trees along the Mall and peak through the skylight at the cornice and pillars details of the John Nash buildings.
The food is the main event though and the enticing menu is tweaked at both lunch and dinner. A huge heap of rosy red radishes and the creamiest cod’s roe, as well as the unapologetically rich chicken liver pate studded with vinegary cornichons are wholly satisfying starter snacks.
Portions are hugely generous, especially when it comes to the the magnificent pheasant, trotter and prune pie topped with crisp golden hot water pastry. Equally punchy in flavour is roast brill with a mound of puy lentils, roast carrots and green sauce. Both served with a plate of unadorned steamed winter greens. It is food to make you smile.
Desserts need a rave of their own: the most luscious yet gentle lemon tart with impeccable pastry is a thing of dreams, and we loved a huge slightly chewy meringue with grainy poached quince and lashings of Jersey yellow cream mixed with quince juices.
Staff are incredibly solicitous, witty and well-informed.
The wine list is refreshingly reasonable though we happily opted for a jug of apple and ginger juice.
There’s also a café squeezed in downstairs. It is admittedly a lot less comfortable but the huge cheese scones, Montgomery Cheddar toasties, homemade cakes and Caravan coffee make it suitably alluring.
This has to be one of London’s most distinctive and unassuming treats.
|What||Rochelle Canteen review, ICA|
|Where||Rochelle Canteen at the ICA, The ICA, The Mall, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 5AH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
04 Oct 17 – 04 Oct 18, 12:00 AM
|Price||£100+ dinner for two with wine|
|Website||Click here for more information|