Food news: spoil yourself at Brat
Next time that you are in London, be sure to book into Brat in Shoreditch, which opened in the spring and has all the UK food critics falling over themselves to heap praise upon it.
You'll find Brat over the Smoking Goat Bar & Thai Grill on Redchurch Street. Don't be intimidated by the location, thinking that you're not cool enough for Shoreditch.
At a recent Sunday lunch, the customers included everyone from groups of friends to families with (well-behaved) children to older couples, all enticed in by the promise of seriously tasty food from young Welsh chef Tomos Parry, who was formerly at Kitty Fisher's in Mayfair, a favourite of both Kate Moss and David Cameron.
This is modern British food at its best, made with impeccably sourced ingredients and a deft touch in the kitchen.
On the day of our visit, the stand-out snacks included smoked cod's roe (taramasalata is enjoying something of a renaissance these days), grilled bread and anchovy - so simple and so delicious when made with great anchovies - and a chopped egg salad with bottarga.
The spider crab, cabbage and fennel salad was an absolute joy of a starter, as were the beef tartare (another dish that's in vogue at the moment - it's on the menu in every second restaurant) and the soused red mullet.
'Brat' is slang for turbot, and whole roast turbot (pictured) cooked in a huge woodfired oven is Parry's signature dish. We were a group of seven and shared a large turbot and a large beef chop between us by way of a main course, along with sides of simple tomato salad and smoked potatoes. Definitely order the bread and butter; it's outstanding. We finished with cheese, and desserts for the sweet-toothed. The favourites were a burnt cheesecake with rhubarb and a perfect lemon tart.
The wine list has been compiled with assistance from the folk at Noble Rot - another London gem, which I reviewed earlier this year in Weekend - and is worth exploring, not just for its red and white wines. No fewer than seven sherries are on offer (both by the glass and the bottle) and apéritifs include amontillado with tonic and a sloe negroni.
Hambledon English sparkling wine is offered as an alternative to champagne, although perhaps we should leave that to the Brexiteers.
The Stoneybatter Festival takes place this weekend and includes a three-course Sunday lunch - a laced punch, sharing boards of local produce, Sunday roast with gravy and Eton mess - on the closed-off street being put on by L. Mulligan Grocer. See
TASTING THE BURREN
Long-table dinners in the Taste the Burren series include the John Blake Dillon evening at Burren Fine Food & Wine in Ballyvaughan on July 19, and another that starts underground in Doolin Cave and finishes with a performance of the Midnight Court on September 14. See burren.ie.
CLINK WITH CLICQUOT
Veuve Clicquot returns to Body & Soul this weekend with food talks and champagne pairings suggested by the world's top female sommelier, Julie Dupouy, throughout the weekend in the Veuve Clicquot Sparkling Conversations Salon and the House of Rose Masquerade Ball tonight.