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
63 Lambâs Conduit Street, London WC1 Tel: 0207 405 8278
Cost: about Â£30 per person
Iâve always liked the name Perseverance for a pub, although what one is intended to persevere at is ambiguous. Here, it seems clear that, as well as a good neighbourhood boozer, the team have persevered at creating a winning menu for the first floor dining room. The menu is short and changes daily, although some favourites do as the pubâs name suggests.
This is â however â not perfection and to get its faults out of the way, the dining room (seating 20) is a bit small and can be uncomfortably warm. Portion sizes are inconsistent especially in main courses, so that some are quite generous and others are rather mean. On the up side, the cooking from chef Richard McLellan is confident, contemporary, occasionally clever and always enjoyable to eat, staff are pleasant and engaging and there is a good selection of wines by the glass.
A hoped-for starter of crab and chilli tagliolini was off but replaced by crab and scallop risotto, scented with chervil. Risottos are a good test of a chef and this one was properly al dente, cooked with good fish stock. Smoked salmon and quails egg salad uses good smoked fish and is well presented. There are also soups, salads and other pasta dishes such as herb gnocchi with roasted red pepper sauce.
Gilt head bream with white onion puree, haricot blanc and shrimp is finely judged cooking with each of the supporting ingredients bringing out characteristics of this new favourite luxury fish, so the small portion size here â just one fillet - was especially regretted. Better to charge a bit more and give a more generous portion. No such criticism of the rib-eye beef, served as darne cuts with a good red wine reduction, girolle mushrooms and wonderfully creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Honey glazed pork belly, apples, celeriac and mash will have to be tried some other time.
Desserts are a particular strong point. Coffee pannacotta as served here, could be the new tiramisÃº. Instead of being turned out, the pannacotta is served in a large coffee cup with spuma on top and some ladyâs fingers to dip into it. The pear rice pudding with hazelnut praline is served warm and provokes the âummmâ response â just the right degree of creaminess counterpointed by the crunchy praline with a few beautifully glazed roundels of roasted pear. All together, rather classy cooking and definitely worth the perseverance.