Published on November 26th, 2014 | by Rebecca Anne Milford0
Tredwell’s, Seven Dials
Summary: Chef Marcus Wareing's latest venture shows some prime examples of London cooking
Those of you reading this who are self admitted ‘foodies’ and wear the gluttonous badge with pride (I know I do), then no doubt you will have heard of Marcus Wareing long ago, from the times of his stint at the Savoy Grill and The Berkeley. You may have been eagerly anticipating the opening of his new restaurant with the curiosity of those who like to see what celebrity chefs are going to offer up next.
But you could of course be forgiven if his is a name only just beginning to creep into your consciousness due to a penchant for BBC cooking shows – you might come across Tredwell’s and think ‘I know that moniker…’ and then it will hit you. Marcus Wareing is the new firm-but-fair judge to take over from Michele Roux on the culinary equivalent of X Factor that is Masterchef.
If you’re anything like me then you are curious about what top chefs like to eat. You see them tasting and testing various dishes from hopeful young cooks and think ‘I wonder what would make them stand up, do a dance, and doff their chef’s cap in approval.’ Well, if Tredwell’s in Covent Garden is anything to go by, then Marcus Wareing likes hearty British comfort food done damn well.
I went to visit on a chilly, rather dour November evening, when the interior of gleaming lamps, cracked green leather booths, shining glassware and polished wood had the inviting atmosphere of a dining hall straight out of a Dickensian novel. It was a Friday and already the place was getting buzzing and busy by 7.30pm – clearly already the place to be for anyone loitering in the Seven Dials area. We were shown upstairs – a black and white affair, like being in a very well put together chessboard made warm by long golden lamps fixed to the wall. A cocktail was called for, and the first on the list that was delivered was a New Fashioned. Nights like the one mentioned call for something whisky-based to warm the cockles, and I was intrigued by the twist of marmalade and bitters.
The drink arrived, golden in its glass like a swirl of melted amber, and the first sip assured me that this would go up there with my favourite whisky concoctions in the city. The addition of marmalade gave it an extra robustness and a ripeness on the throat that complemented the whisky perfectly.
On to the important task of eating, and there are plenty of options for those either wanting the equivalent of British tapas and nibbles, or a full on meal. Although the various meat-laden main courses looked incredibly tempting (duck confit; slow cooked pork belly; lamb chops with minted bean chutney) we were planning a night on the tiles and so didn’t want an attack of the meat sweats to ruin our carefully applied foundation. For that reason the two of us decided to try every one of the ‘Snack’ options – six in all – and get a taste for Marcus Wareing’s nibbly preferences.
Beetroot hummus arrived; a vivid, royal purple and had all the rugged earthy flavour of the ground, with that slight vinegar sweet acidity that makes it a favourite of mine. It was served with triangles of toasted flatbread perfect for scooping, while courgette fritters with a pine-nut butter were light and nicely flavoured little morsels, the perfect size to pop in the mouth. The pot of olives, feta and tomatoes was a similarly refreshing offering, with dazzling white feta, plump green olives and the ruby jewels of tomato nuzzling against each other in a welcomingly un-greasy state.
Now, while these vegetarian dishes are all very well and tasty, it has to be said the stars of the show are for the carnivores. Sticky chilli chicken wings had a definite kick and the mahogany dark sauce was phenomenal. Meanwhile, the mini pulled pork belly, ginger and apple sliders were demolished in one bite, leaving a damn good bbq flavour and juicy texture in their wake.
But the star of the show had to be the chorizo jam with charred bread. Now, if you’re thinking this might be some sort of chilli or tomato paste with hunks of chorizo in it you’d be wrong – oh, how you be wrong. The chorizo jam is actually divine and delicious meat simmered down, ground, pulped and goodness-knows-what they do to make it finer than mince with the richness of slow cooked meat. It came with charred bread – flat bread might have been nicer but to be honest who cares? These paltry carbs were merely vehicles for maneuvering the chorizo jam into our open maws.
We tried a couple more cocktails – the Apples and Pears used a delightful herbaceous thyme vodka which, combined with the fluffiness of egg, sweet pear, apple and elderflower, made for a more-ish martini. While the Gunpowder Gimlet was a fresh explosion of gin, cardamom, lime and green tea. Despite the fact we were going dancing we decided a Cloak and Dagger wouldn’t hurt, maintaining the mixture of coffee tequila, vermouth and chocolate was a dessert in itself. Then we just thought what the hell, we’ll get some puddings too. The warm ginger cake with caramel and cream was devilishly rich, sweet and indulgent (Greg Wallace would certainly approve) while the house made salted caramel soft serve proved that the love affair with this particular flavour is going nowhere in a hurry – it was so good I nearly licked the silver plating from my spoon.
All in all we left Tredwell’s feeling very jolly and very well fed, in a thoroughly cheerful mood at having sampled some prime examples of London cooking. Heck, when you can come and try a famous chef’s dishes this easily then who needs to know their way around the kitchen?! And next time we’ll definitely risk the meat sweats.
Tredwell’s, 4a Upper St Martin’s Ln, WC2H 9NYShare This Post