Peninsula Square gets its first upmarket gastromic resident
As a food writer of modest repute, I spend a lot of time reading what my reviewing superiors have to say. By whom I mean Jay Rayner, Charles Campion, Fay Maschler and AA Gill, with a few others thrown in for good measure. And while I try not to let their judgement sway me (and even go as far as avoiding their write-ups of any restaurant in my review calendar) I have to admit that I’m very pleased when any of their opinions is broadly in line with mine. Sad but true.
Which brings me to this week’s restaurant. Craft London is a partnership between Chef Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen, Rotorino) and industrial designer Tom Dixon of the Design Research Studio. Located in what is rather grandly claimed as ‘the new cultural hub of Greenwich Peninsula ‘ but is in fact, just outside the 02, Craft London, the project kicked off as a cafe / roaster, before evolving into the restaurant, cocktail bar and shop that it is today. Craft takes its erm... craft seriously. Wearing its new British restaurant ideal on its sleeve has seen the café and shop having their own coffee roaster; the restaurant having a meat-curing room and fermenting cellar; and the cocktail bar having a phenomenal collection of British gin and whisky. Even more impressive, is the new park outside by Alys Fowler with an orchard, a smoke house and a kitchen garden all for Craft London.
To make sure that I reaped the full benefits of their ‘craft’ I went for the six course tasting menu. From the five snacks I was served to start the banquet, the oyster, rhubarb and fermented leave was divine, and the smoked bone marrow with pickles and fennel flowers sat atop a potato crisp was gorgeous. The second course of rainbow carrots, beetroots, mead and anchovy sauce was more delicate then I was expecting. The scallop, pickled mussels and four grain porridge that followed was a much bigger dish full of flavour and texture. It came with a glass of British sparkling wine, and was the best course on offer. Or so I thought until I tried the Hereford beef sirloin, with marrowbone bread sauce and lovage liquor. The beef was cooked to perfection, while the sauce had the rich and sweet flavours of marrowbone with the bread sauce giving it texture. A stunning dish. The remaining courses could never live up to their seafood and meat predecessors, but the dessert of brown butter ice cream, short bread, almonds and English raspberry was perfect summer fare.
Despite its locale the other diners looked anything but an O2 crowd. More like well-heeled locals enjoying a proper dining experience in their midst. The waiting staff were charming, knowledgeable and unobtrusive. As it happens most of my aforementioned reviewing superiors have visited Craft and loved it. I should re-emphasise that I am not influenced by what they write. But I should probably tell you that I loved it too.
On a rating of * to *****
Wining and dining *****
Boozing and schmoozing ****
Romancing and dancing ***
Peninsula Square, Greenwich, London SE10 0SQ
For reservations: http://craft-london.co.uk/