A meal at North Road, Clerkenwell

***this restaurant has since closed down***
When I met Ben Spalding for my badly timed article for Identita’ Golose, he mentioned Viajante and North Road as places in London where one could find a similar philosophy to Roganic’s in the kitchen. I was intrigued as I did not know anything about North Road and decided to book a table for dinner. The venue is quite stark, elegant and on a Friday evening, only barely half full. It always makes me wonder why, purely thanks to social media marketing, some places are always packed and buzzing despite serving mediocre food while gems like this place proved to be are not the ‘talk of the twitter town’. 
Or am I missing something?

As they offer a tasting menu but also a la carte (except saturdays), I hoped @bmcboy could also enjoy the experience, so dragged him along.  As we sipped a glass of champagne (oh, the life!) we scanned the menu – not a huge variety (4 starters, 4 mains) but in my opinion, they were all pretty much interesting. While we waited for our food, we were served a delightful amuse-bouche. 

Pickled quail eggs, pork scratchingTwo pickled quail eggs which I absolutely loved; a smoked (and smoking) Jersey Royal which was very good and some puffed up pork scratching which were extremely light  but too oily for my taste. 

Starters soon arrived. I opted for Hand Caught scallops with Sea Buckthorn – after seeing and hearing so much about this wild berry on Great British Menu last week, I was too curious. 
I loved how the scallops were cooked – roasted and with great texture without being undercooked. Sea urchin was freeze powdered and it was more of a gimmick to eat this ice cold with the hot scallops. The buckthorn was a delicate, tangy puree which added without overpowering to the delicate shell fish. 
Ox Cheek, Jerusalem artichoke, pear 

@Bmcboy chose Ox cheeks with Jerusalem artichokes and pear. It was well cooked and rich and he enjoyed but he wasn’t’ too convinced about the pear. 
My main of Pork neck with Kent truffle and pickled mushrooms was very good – the meat a little bit tough yet well complemented by the greens and dried berries that came with it. I could not really detect any aroma to the truffle sadly.

Pork neck, pickled mushrooms, Kent truffle

@bmcboy’s Turbot coated in Spinach powder and surrounded by watercress looked stunning – dark emerald green coating surrounded by gory looking white coated raw watercress, it was beautiful. A very interesting and well put together dish.

Turbot in powdered spinach, watercress, white asparagus

As mush as I was tempted by a dessert (with a selection including ingredients such as carrots, rhubarb, yogurt) we opted to share a dish of British artisan cheeses served with delicious crisp bread and onion marmalade. I indulged in a glass of Sauternes with these.
With two more glasses of wine, our bill came to 139£ – the food was just over 60% of the bill which amazes me every time as so much work has clearly gone into North Road’s dishes.
We will definitely be back – we had a pleasant dinner, tasted some great food.



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