Tuesday, 9 June 2009
One cannot fail to have noticed the recently increasing number of secret or 'underground' restaurants popping up all over London. Having said that many (non foodie) folk have not the foggiest idea what I'm talking about when I mention them in passing. Up until this weekend I was yet to visit one but have been intrigued and eager to experience the thrill of dining somewhere 'illegal' for sometime now.
The inaugural night of the Rambling Restaurant in Camden was a first for me as a diner and a first for fellow blogger and host Foodrambler.
Upon arrival we were each served a delicious elderflower and mint cocktail. The dining room was at the very top of Foodrambler's lovely home and our meal came complete with a pretty, dusk lit view. Sitting at one of the shared tables gave me the opportunity to meet some fellow bloggers, Helen of Food Stories fame and Chris from Cheese and Biscuits. We sat following a brief period of mingling and were served the starter of liver and bacon.
This was a course liver pate with two crispy pieces of bacon and a shot glass filled with vibrantly coloured layers of minted peas, tomato and yoghurt. Also served was some dense toasted home made bread. This dish looked very pretty and allayed the fears of one fellow diner who was a little apprehensive about the prospect of being given a starter of liver and bacon in the form she remembered it from school. Thankfully for her, this was a twist on the classic liver and bacon and was a well thought out, beautifully presented start to the meal, very seasonal and fresh.
The main course was trout, a fish with a somewhat delicate flavour, which was cooked perfectly and sitting skin side up atop a nicely crisp potato rosti with rocket and fennel. I'm not usually a fan of fennel, I find it's fragrant taste to be overpowering but here it was less potent than I recall from prior encounters and it really worked. This turned out to be my favourite course of the evening.
Again, I liked the presentation, this time a colourful stack of pink fish and the green peppery rocket. I love the kick rocket provides, i'd have it with every meal given the chance. The sauce containing the fennel was fairly thin and light meaning it combined well with all the other flavours, something heavier might have been too much for the trout.
There was an interlude whilst dessert was finished off in which I drank far too much of the byo wine and regretted it the following morning. Dessert was a wickedly oozing chocolate fondant which had the perfect consistency in the centre and the ice cream, flecked with lavender, was a triumph. The flower, which pairs particularly well with chocolate, lifted an otherwise plain vanilla ice cream with its relaxing scent and flavour, this was a welcome round off to the meal.
To run a restaurant from your living room is an incredibly brave undertaking. I feel sure I would panic and fail miserably, Foodrambler, however, remained calm and composed throughout the evening, politely greeting her guests once the cooking was out of the way and bringing around coffee before taking a well earned breather. As expected, I very much enjoyed the experience, finding it refreshing to not have to concern yourself with choosing what to order, as well as paying a mere £15 for the priviledge of dining here with interesting people and getting to nose around someone elses house (not that I snooped of course). I would highly recommend it at such a bargain price and I'd like to wish Foodrambler the best of luck in her new venture.
The Rambling Restaurant
Sssssh, somewhere in Camden but may ramble elsewhere in London
here's a rundown of the evening from the lady herself.
For bookings see the Rambling Restaurant facebook page