Made in Kensington
The modest-looking Admiral Codrington – nicknamed Ad Cod – is a gastrohub among London’s most revered burger lovers. The quiet front (the quietness was, surely, due to the low-key Easter period) led way to an opaquely cream-and-green dining room with flower-patterned banquettes. Not a fun-looking place and all seemed a little too preen, too proper and too Kensington for my liking.
Luckily, in the kitchen, chef Fred Smith cooked up meals of an extraordinary appeal and fetched fame beyond SW3 and its environs. And, from my experience, it would be a danger if I lived nearby..
The menu was comprised of many pub fares with facelifts. The price for starters varied between £7.50- £9.50; and for mains £13.50- £17.50. There were many cuts of steak from White Park and (London’s more revered) O’Shea’s of Knightsbridge to tempt my taste bud. The price range was between £17 – £30. (Maybe next time?) I was after the burger. The one and only on the menu. 8oz. Cheese. Bacon. Pickles. Chips. £15. I was after this one. NO!! This was not the ONLY one. I spotted the Double Cheese Stack as the special (Until 19th April! Quick!!). There were two of us. I settled for the regular cheese and TOB for the double cheese.
I could tell, from the cascading cheese rendering juice into the medium rare patties, the pillow-y sesame bun.. and I could also tell, from the way TOB’s jaw bone twitched a little after a bite.. and I concluded, from the intensity and focus on his brows, his mopping up the beefy juice with his bun, and the FACT that he was NOT SHARING (!!!), that this burger must be damned good. (I offered him a morsel of my burger. A failed tactic). My cheeseburger was quite brilliant, too. The brioche bun formed a light construction for the burger; the pink patty boast some girth and juicy robustness; the dripping was trapped by the shredded lettuce and pickles; the homemade tomato chutney had depth; the bacon bites added smoke-y saltiness; the cooked onions sweetness. It struck me as a not-so-dirty-but-not-too-neat burger – half way between MEATliquor and Goodman’s – but with a taste that triumphed them all. The best I’ve ever eaten, in other words. The chunky chips were fluffy and crispy.
I ate other things, too. Crab Penne, Wild Garlic and Chilli (£9.50) was successful. The fresh and sweet crab meat was tossed in a loose, buttery sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and chilli. I liked the twist: the use of a few different heirloom tomatoes, which resulted in a varying degree of texture. The penne was correctly al dente. The only criticism I had was that it could do with a little more acidity. A very, very gentle squeeze of lemon juice, perhaps. The side of Macaroni Cheese (£6) was sinful. Firm and biteful macaroni lay seductively in a bowl of chive-infused three cheese. I noted a twist of blue (but was too occupied by its sumptuous richness I forgot to enquire what cheese was used), giving a surprisingly pleasant, mature aroma. This was the dish that did not pale in comparison with the Ad Cod burger glory. I finished the meal with a very pleasing honeycomb ice-cream.
(You make stop reading and start planning a trip to Ad Cod now).
THE ADMIRAL CODRINGTON
17 Mossop Street
Tel. 020 7581 0005