A river runs through…
The meandering silhouette of the Thames unites Marlow to London on slick, elegant menus. Why? Because Marlow is where Tom Kerridge’s pubs (including Michelin starred The Hand and Flowers) are located and by London’s Embankment is where he has just launched his new venue within the sumptuous Corinthia Hotel. Kerridge’s Bar and Grill is a far cry from his Marlow outposts, at least in look and feel.
Dark colours, tones of emerald green and mahogany, leather upholstery and modern art pieces (including sculptures by Tom’s wife Beth) scattered around the dining room; large windows overlook Northumberland Avenue, framed by soaring white columns. It might feel a little intimidating at first but the staff are wonderfully easy going and, for a place with such high expectations behind, they seem extremely relaxed when we visit, not even a week from their first day of trading, in particularly maitre Matt was absolutely delightful to deal with, and really funny too.
The menu is mouth-wateringly carnivorous; this is not a place where vegetarians would feel at ease and there is a wide choice of dishes with particular focus on Britishness. Nationally sourced ingredients include sustainable Loch Duart salmon and Cotswolds chicken amongst others: it is a celebration of the worthy produce of the country and its seasons. Classic dishes are revised with Tom’s flair for ingredients and handed over to head chef Nick Beardshaw who is in charge of this kitchen.
We begin our meal with a highly enjoyable Essex Beetroot Salad, goat’s cheese, red chicory and orange: the beetroot is roasted in the sizeable onsite rotisserie, underneath is a zesty heart of orange gel surrounded by the slightly bitter chicory. Claude’s Mushroom ‘Risotto’ with a crispy egg and aged parmesan proves to be another winner, earthy, creamy and delicious.
The protein heavy mains arrive quickly and satisfy everyone; a generous Rib of Beef with chips and bone marrow sauce is possibly a fraction fatty but the meat falls apart and is rich and decadent. The gherkin ketchup on the side is a surprise, an incredibly intense burst of acidic goodness. The Loin of Ramsbury Estate Venison with carrot and parsley emulsion is cooked beautifully, as tender as it can be, the emulsion bright green and a good complement to the rich gravy. The black pepper Cottage Pie is a touch overcooked and carries too much salt but that doesn’t stop up from polishing the pot clean, the meat so flaky and rich, it is still a delight.
Choosing a dessert is a no brainer, the eye immediately caught by the first item: Blackcurrant Soufflé with ginger parkin crumb, blackcurrant leaf cream and lemon sherbet is divine. One of the hardest pudding to get right, this is definitely spot on. Rising high and straight with a perfect consistency and a striking, deep, purple colour, we savour every mouthful. The leaf cream is perhaps a little too rich for the moderately tangy soufflé, but the lemon sherbet on the side as a palate cleanser is impeccable. This is a pudding for those who like sharp flavours!
Our helpful waitress had also recommended a Brown Butter Tart with buttermilk ice cream and we are thankful, the flavour of the filling is spectacular, nutty and sweet and not too heavy.
We feel our £70 per head bill is very reasonable (including a glass of wine and service): this is high level of cooking right in the centre of London and in a stunning, opulent venue.
Welcome to London, Mr Kerridge.
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, 10 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE