The Shed and The Ark
On Friday night I arranged to meet J (who came to this and this with me) for dinner and drinks. We met at The Shed, a restaurant opened by two brothers late last year who’s aim (according to the website) is to bring a slice of the countryside into the city. I later found out the venue used to be called The Ark, and was frequented by Mr Very Hungry Londoner Senior (my dad) and his best friend during their London glory days.
I loved the interior as soon as I walked in – quirky, cool, not taking itself too seriously, and who doesn’t love a massive Colman’s Mustard sign? At least, I loved it until I sat down. I have never been more uncomfortable in a restaurant. I was perched on a stool that was too high for the table in front of me AND of an insufficient width to support my entire derriere (NB, it is not THAT large). They have clearly put style ahead of the comfort of the customers. Not good.
We started with their Daily Loosner, a daily changing cocktail which on our visit was a lovely whisky sour. It did what it said on the tin. The menu is divided into three sections – mouthfuls, fast and slow. We ordered a couple of mouthfuls, pork crackling and beef tartare. They aren’t lying when they describe them as mouthfuls, I think sharing was an over optimistic idea, but the pork crackling was so good (nice crunch and the apple sauce was nice and tart) I swiftly ordered another.
At the suggestion of the nice waiter we had five main dishes from the fast and slow sections between us. His recommendation of salsify, carrot and onion fritter had a lovely light batter which allowed the unusual taste of salsify to come through. The pheasant , venison, white bean and kale was a delicious meaty combo, and the grilled lamb with red quinoa, spelt pearly barley and cabbage was beautifully cooked. The celeriac, apple, raisin puy lentil, parsley salad was a nice fresh, fruity combination to balance out the heavy meat. But my favourite dish was the cockles, lemon, chili, rosemary tagliatelle. I don’t have cockles enough and they went unexpectedly well with the warmth of the silky rosemary pasta. It was so delicious.
We had two puddings. I ordered the yogurt panacotta with forced rhubarb and J the chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline. I should have ordered it too. Mine was lovely, but his was outstanding – really rich chocolate with a lovely crisp nutty coating. Luckily he was gent enough to let me share.
We would have stayed for a final drink, but the seats were just too uncomfortable to relax, so we settled up (£55 each. We had another couple of loosners) and headed off to The Portobello Star. I loved the use of unusual British ingredients, and quirky flavour combinations. Just as soon as they sort out seating that support my entire derriere, I will be back.