Zomato Blogger’s Evening @ Crocker’s Folly
24 Aberdeen Place, St John’s Wood, NW8 8JR
020 7289 9898/www.crockersfolly.com
I was recently invited by Zomato, the international online restaurant review and booking site for an evening experiencing The Chef’s Table at Crocker’s Folly, the beautifully refurbished Victorian Gin Palace in St John’s Wood. I had reviewed Crocker’s Folly not long after it had opened (see my review here) but with an ambitious young new chef in the kitchen, Damian Wawrzyniak, the chance to indulge in 12 courses with wine flight in the company of the creme de la creme of London’s bloggerati was too good to turn down. The plan was for us to test possible dishes for the restaurant’s autumn menu and give feedback.After introductory cocktails we dug into our first snack El Bulli style- crisp salty Chicken skins and a shot of surprisingly sweet onion juice. An intriguing beginning!
Josper-grilled brined cauliflower topped with caviar was delicious. The saltiness of the fish eggs brightening the richness of the cauliflower.Herring with new potato and oat cake had been brined for five days in a sugar and salt solution. This was a luxurious take on a classic that I could eat all day. Our next fish course was a Gravad Lax that had been cured with beetroot and lemon and came with a Pernod cream. I prefer the Aquavit, salt and dill version of this dish but this still had a good texture and flavour and the Pernod cream gave it an aniseed twist.
Salt roasted Beetroot with goats cheese, toasted pine nuts and rocket essence was a great dish. The earthy flavours of three types of beetroot all having the chance to shine. This was followed by a venison Pie with pickled root vegetables that was probably the favourite dish of the assembled ‘blag’ of bloggers. Rich and warm with the veg having a little acidity to cut through. A hit!
However the simplicity of a dish of Pearl Barley with mussels shone out for me. The nuttiness of the grain being complemented by the sweet juicy mussels.Asparagus risotto was impeccably al dente-nutty with the vegetal flavour of the asparagus shining through.We watched the Porterhouse steaks being cooked to perfection on the Josper. Already full people managed to demolish several trays full of this prime cut accompanied by impeccable skinny duck fat chips.I had to admit defeat by dessert but the Chocolate Spheres, Baked Alaska with bergamot ice cream and macaroons all looked pretty delicious. Chef Damian has a lot of guts to invite in a crew of bloggers for feedback but the quality of the food offer now at Crocker’s Folly has clearly improved significantly and the menu is much more coherent.His cooking is technically very secure with an ability to let flavours shine. Combined with the amazing interiors Crocker’s Folly really should become a local destination restaurant. If you haven’t you should try out zomato.com for a range of restaurant reviews (including mine) and booking options.