Rene Redzepi has just left London and the phone line at Noma on the 1st of every month is ramped for by international gourmets. For those unsure of Danish cuisine or even unheard of it, I wouldn’t say Noma would straightaway convert you into eating roots and ashes for your main or having artichokes for desserts. So, what would I recommend for a Danish Fine Dining 101? Try pop into this new place on St John Street called North Road by one Danish chef Christoffer Hruskova. From what I had just experienced today, I didn’t think you’d be disappointed.
North Road, I must say, benefitted much from the contemporary decor–looking as if at Noma but with tablecloths–the airy and nicely spaced out dining room, and the friendly, extremely knowledgeable staff. The menu–Danish with twists–was reasonably priced and would cost roughly about £50 for a three course meal plus a glass of wine and water. Mint, innit?
Let’s see what the Dane did to impress me. First up, the bread! Warm but quite stodgy. The real highlight was, actually, the accompanied brown butter. Method? Clarifying the butter several times, putting the brown layer together and solidying it. Result? Very intense and creamy butter. And I tasted something malty about it.
Moving on to the starter, I had Glazed Veal Sweetbreads, Onions, Milk Skin and Pickled Green Elderberries. Two perfectly cooked slices of sweetbreads–crispy on the outside and creamy inside–were well matched by the sweet onions, which were cooked two ways–one glazed, the other pickled–providing wonderful contrast in texture. The sourness of the pickled elderberry cut through nicely. The sheet of milk skin was the weakest component of the dish as it was too dry and too thin, otherwise it would have added creaminess and a delicate touch to this flavoursome dish.
My main of Venison Loin, Beetroot, Burnt Hay and Smoked Bonemarrow was equally as amazing. Very generous serving of venison cooked medium. It was rolled in burnt hay and oozed out good smoky aroma. The beetroot–also prepared two ways as raw carparccio and boiled–sweetened up the venison, while the bonemarrow added fat to create this tenderised, melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Desserts? The savoury dishes had impressed me much and I decided to order two desserts for myself. First to arrive was this Jerusalem Artichoke and Sunflower Seeds. Extremely inventive as the artichoke was (also) prepared in many ways to create distinguished flavours and texture to wake the diners’ taste bud up. Here you had raw (grated on top), mousse (very airy), ice cream (thick and creamy), and then marzipan (typically rough)! When tucking in, I was totally blown away by the depth of the dish. Complicated in preparation but simple satisfaction anybody would love when eating ice-cream.
The other desserts I had was also interesting, though I much prefer the Artichoke ice cream. It was this golden dish of Caramels and Liquorice in Textures. Yes, the word “textures” said it all. Three components: mousse, ice cream with crushed crunchy caramel on top. It burst in your mouth, seriously. Flavour-wise, there was a rich sweetness from the caramel and the follow-up of liquorice in the background. Pleasant but probably more for those with sweet teeth.
I refrained from shouting how much I loved North Road. Clean, simple cooking but with a lot of thoughts into all the dishes. Ingredients were ordinary but were turned into such an elegant meal and memorable experience. This showed how confident the chef was in his cooking. Loved it and could hardly wait to go back! I’m also keeping my fingers crossed North Road will get a Michelin star.
My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “9 out of 10″.
69-71 St John Street
Tel. 020 3217 0033