The Lockhart isn’t a new restaurant but one that nobody talked about. It wasn’t until its recent acquisition of chef Bradford McDonald that The Lockhart got my attention. The fare here is Southern American with backflippingly cool and refined twists.
Before that. Bradford. He is American and Southern. He grew up in a farm and mobilised across the world’s best kitchens (including Per Se and Noma). His former restaurant Governor in Brooklyn, NY was lauded by chefs, critics and food enthusiasts. Sadly, it was swept away by Sandy. A year or so after, I feel privileged to have Brad cooking in London.
Now. The Lockhart. The restaurant is on a small, bustling street in Marylebone. The ambiance is casual; the service is capable. The menu follows your usual format – nibbles (£3), “Appetizers” (£7-10), “Entrées” (£15-26), sides (£4). (Not sure how much the desserts cost as I didn’t keep my bills). The portion isn’t American XXL but the taste is *robust* and I did leave (after my three meals there) quite stuffed.
Brad’s cooking is an inventive play of taste of the Southern states. Grilled Chicken Oysters (£3) were juicy and subtly smoky. The BBQ mustard sauce had a good kick. Far more superior was Catfish Goujons (£3) with golden cornmeal crust. The fragrant spiced crust held the delicate, piping hot fish fillets well, while the tangy, mustard-y remoulade (Creole style + zingy shallot and parsley) added dimensions. I also loved Gumbo (£8) made with diced mallard breast, finished with spring onions and grated mallard jerky. The roux seasoning, I found, was carefully judged, allowing the depth of plump, laurel-aged Carolina Gold rice to shine. Pretty much the dish to showcase how exuberant rice can be. Tabasco was not added but left at table for DIY. Also very, very delicious was a warm salad of Tokyo Turnip and Country Ham (£9). The ham, cured in house, had quite finesse. The steamed turnips oozed their natural sweetness, well contrasted by the crunchy (raw) turnip tops and the mildly acidic, fermented turnip shreds.
On my first visit (by myself), I asked for a small portion of Shrimps and Grits to try (picture). You shouldn’t. What you need is a ..full portion (£17). (This was the best ever grits outside SC)!! Laced with cheese, the grits boast an excellent consistency: velvety and cloud-like. The hefty cheesy taste was balanced off by “Shrimps” (succulent prawns cooked with mushrooms and bacon bits with a generous squeeze of lemon juice). (This made my mouth water as I typed)! Also marvellous was Stuffed and Glazed Quail (£16). The quail arrived unusually pert. Once I sank my knife in, the “dirty rice” stuffing, neatly and surprisingly layered between the skin and the breasts, burst out. Made from Carolina Gold with offal bits, the “rice” was robust and livery. The breasts, which in a matter of speaking were baked in the rice, retained great moisture and ideal pinkness. The Madeira glazing was sweet, glossy and sticky. It bound the elements well. After all these goodies the real mouth orgasm by Brad was the baked-to-order Corn Cake (£4), served in hot plate and with butter to sizzle over (!!). Firm in texture. The aroma of the corn meal that came through was unforgettable. Collard Greens (£4) – vinegary and porky – was spot on, too.
The desserts were delicious and comforting (but by the time they came I was already on cloud nine) but not as impactful. Deconstructed Lemon Pie was a little too sweet for me to unwind (but if you like sweet sweets, this is IT for you). I preferred Beignets with Chocolate more. These deep fried cushions were made from rice flour and really fluffy. The dark chocolate was sumptuous; the fennel infused sugar refreshed and uplift.
So.. to sum it all up.. the new “destination” for London.
I am not done yet..
I also loved the brunch at The Lockhart …(~￣▽￣)~
The brunch is, like the supper menu, a thorough Southern fare (fried chicken, sausage patty, smoked brisket, biscuits, shrimps and grits, etc.). We had Fried Egg with Biscuits and Sausage Gravy (£7) and Fried Chicken Waffle (£13). The buttermilk biscuits were made in house. Very light. The gravy was peppery. The winner was the fried chicken (brown meat). Super crackling and oil-less crust. The thigh meat was really, really, really juicy. The waffle contained a surprise – pecan nuts – for good texture contrast ( ^^ )!
22-24 Seymour Place
Tel. 020 3011 5400