Probably the best meal we have ever eaten in London. This was the post meal consensus following the fantastic lunch that my friends and I shared at Roganic this weekend. High praise indeed given the list of London restaurants that this newcomer to the scene was being compared to.
Roganic is only a couple of weeks old, but you wouldn’t know that from the way that the dining room is run and the quality of what comes out of the kitchen. They manage to find the difficult balance of a well run, efficient service but still retain an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Far easier said than done.
We were seated and left to peruse our options on the menu, which couldn’t be more straight forward. You have three options, three courses, six courses or ten courses. It took our group all of about 30 seconds to decide. We went for the full ten courses.
Now to the wine. Sommelier, Zsolt Kismodi, was promptly on hand to help guide us through an exciting wine list, bereft of clichéd options that often fill wine lists. Whilst there isn’t a wine paring option on the menu, Zsolt informed us that he would be happy to put something together for us if we were happy to leave ourselves in his capable hands, paring wines by the glass or bottle where applicable to guide us through the meal. We were more than happy to do this and with no talk of cost he went about his work.
Now before we go any further an apology from me. As anyone reading this will be able to see, this is my very first review and as a result a small schoolboy error has been made on my part. The photographs aren’t fantastic. They are okay, but food this beautiful deserves more and so going forward I will ensure I take my DSLR with me rather than try and get by with the iPhone camera.
Chickpea wafer canapés were served to get us started followed by the arrival of the best looking bread I’ve ever seen. So good looking in fact that I couldn’t get a picture of it before half of it had already disappeared.
Broad bean and hyssop, fresh curds and beetroot
Rubin turnip baked in salt, smoked yolk, sea vegetables and wild mustard
Seawater cured Kentish mackerel, orache, broccoli and warm elderflower honey. As you will come to see on this blog, my fantastic girlfriend, N, has what some may consider an obsession with mackerel dishes and this one didn’t disappoint, even surpassing the excellent mackerel dish we have both sampled numerous times at The Ledbury.
Shredded ox tongue, pickles and sourdough paper
Flaky Crab and mallow cream, young squid and cucumber. Even the member of our party with a passionate hatred for cucumber and all that it stands for managed to finish this dish with no complaints.
Vintage potatoes in onion ashes, lovage and wood sorrel
Roasted monkfish, chicken salt, cockles and ruby chard. This item was originally listed as brill on the menu but a substitute of monkfish had to be used instead. At this stage we were moved across to a light red wine to accompany the fish and also the hogget coming up next. This proved to be an excellent move, one that we probably wouldn’t have instigated ourselves, so thanks again to Zsolt.
Cumbrian hogget, artichokes and chenopodiums. This may have been my favourite course of the day. I’ve read elsewhere that this dish also appears on the menu at L’enclume but with slightly better execution. I can only imagine how good this must be up in Cumbria. Only one way to find out I guess.
Sweet ciceley with strawberry, buttermilk and verbena
Warm spiced bread, salted almonds, buckthorn curd, smoked clotted cream. The smoked clotted cream is inspired. N is a Cornish gall and clotted cream aficionado so this dish raised an eyebrow when we spotted it on the menu. It did not disappoint. Stunning.
Douglas fir milkshake with douglas fir flapjack
Mini victoria sponge cakes
At the end of the meal our waiter asked the table for our highlights of the meal. Between the four of us at the table naming our favourite couple of dishes each we managed to cover more or less the whole menu, such was the range of excellent plates we had eaten we were struggling to find a unanimous winner, they were all that good.
The next surprise was yet another pleasant one, the bill (you don’t hear that very often). The ten course tasting menu is £80, we knew that before we started so no surprises there. What did come as a surprise was the total inclusive of wine. As I mentioned earlier, we put ourselves firmly in the sommeliers hands with no talk of our budget for the wine. Five excellent glasses of wine each later we were looking at a bill of approx £30 a head. Staggering value for the quality (and quantity) of wine we received and especially pleasing given that Zsolt could have frankly gone to town on us given the open brief.
Roganic is nothing short of sensational. I can’t wait until the day I finally get to go to L’enclume, which is really going to have to be something special to surpass what is being created by Ben Spalding and his team down in London at the moment. I can’t wait to make a return visit to Roganic, although judging by the fact that the restaurant is currently taking up 75% of Twitter feed and receiveing rave reviews left right and centre, I’m guessing that getting a table over the next few months may be easier said than done.
19, Blandford St,
Tel: 0207 4860380