Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
Level 2, the Barbican, Silk St., EC2
Tel: 020 7588 3008
Cost: about Â£50 per person a la carte; prix fixe de jour 2 courses Â£19.50, 3 courses Â£22.50
âYouâre gonna go out there a nobody but youâre gonna to come back a star,â is the line from A Star is Born well known to every aspiring actor. When the limelight is so clearly focused on chefs, many would look a bit green around the gills, but not Chris McGowan, a young talent in his first head chef role. He has given a new sense of direction to the restaurant in the Barbican Centre that has been drifting since Richard Corriganâs departure for Lindsay House. The front of house has also been revived with a look that is strong and quietly confident, emphasising dynamic neutrals and distinct dining areas.
McGowanâs cooking is much in the Corrigan mode: robust yet sophisticated and firmly based on country cooking, an apparent contradiction that might be summed up as rus in urbe, which lies at the heart of great restaurant cooking. Take, for example, his roasted scallops with crispy pork and carrots, the sweet roasted Oriental spicing of the pork pointing up the ocean-sweetness of the king scallops with both offset against the earthy sweetness of the carrot puree. His tea-smoked salmon has some of the red meat character of rare beef, emphasised by the red wine butter sauce, but the brandade points the palate back towards the sea. Beignet of lamb sweetbreads with sauce gribiche will have to be tried on a future visit.
Assiette of Pyrenees lamb is a dish with true star quality. There are at least six or seven different preparations on the plate: tiny, delectable chops shows very careful buying but more credit to the kitchen for sweetbread beignet which was crisp outside and succulent inside, wonderful kidneys atop moist neck meat and so on, all with a good supporting flavour of red pepper and black olive. Seeing what McGowan did with the lamb, I now regret not trying the braised pigs trotters with black pudding and am also curious about his tranche of turbot with moules mariniÃ¨re. Desserts provide appropriate fanfare at the end â a wonderful rhubarb tart with mascarpone ice cream; star anise bavarois with roasted pineapple, an admirable combination of tastes and textures; nougatine and pear mille-feuille with red wine brulÃ©e speaks for itself . Wines are intelligently chosen and service is exemplary. Standing ovations all around.