A tiny but very smart Baltic-tinged newcomer, in Marylebone; the cooking is pretty straightforward, but the set lunch menu, in particular, offers excellent value.
here’s something not entirely English about this cute little Marylebone newcomer. Even though it is very compact indeed, having just 26 seats, and these divided between two rooms, it is nonetheless highly-polished and mirrored – the overall effect is more French than anything else.
The menu here, however, is certainly not Gallic – you could perhaps characterise it as straightforward modern European, spiced up with a few Baltic dishes. Indeed, any French impression could be positively misleading. We were told that the ‘bouillabaisse’, for example, is made with “the offcuts of whatever fish we’re using”. Well, surely it shouldn’t be called a bouillabaisse then?
That’s not, however, to knock the dish itself, which was undoubtedly very tasty (and much cheaper than the real thing too). Another starter was a prawn cocktail served on a brioche: sounds a bit odd, but this is apparently the Baltic style, and it worked for us.
And then we waited. And waited. In the way that particularly happens in restaurants which are almost totally empty, the main courses took an age to come. When they did, the star was the large chunk of Icelandic cod, which was cooked with a sensitivity that was beyond reproach. It did indeed quiver under the fork. The same finesse was apparent in the preparation of a similarly trembling elderflower cheesecake. And in the coffee too.
Can such a small baby fly? It certainly deserves to be a lot fuller than it was when we visited – at lunchtime, when the tariff for two courses, including that large chunk of cod, is just £9.95. How can they make any money out of that? And, even à la carte, prices are very reasonable: they’re going to need to get a lot of punters through to make this little baby really sing.