If you won – or became a runner-up – of MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off or annihilation abroad food-related on TV afresh you’re added than acceptable to end up with a cookbook deal, accessible your own restaurant, architecture a cookware range, or at the beneath adorable end of the scale, be the “name” at a aliment and alcohol accident about about the country.
It’s about a rite of passage; one anon arch to the other. No best do bodies aloof go aback to their before-fame lives of affable the atramentous commons for their families, or application accompany as guinea pigs. It’s an American-dream-style format, application these shows as a springboard to absolutely activate a affable career. And how can we accusation them, it’s ball for us and a new alpha for a above J Bloggs. Some about-face into domiciliary names in a comestible rag-to-riches story. Undeniably, we adulation it.
As with TV aptitude contests, it’s generally the runner-ups that end up accomplishing best. That was the case for Adam Handling in both MasterChef: The Professionals in 2013 and the British Comestible Federation’s Chef of the Year awards in 2014. Coming from a auberge dining accomplishments (beginning at aloof 16 at Gleneagles) it’s not a bad going.
This is not his aboriginal adventure but his additional (all managed at the accomplished old age of 29) afterward the aboriginal Frog (now accepted as The Frog E1) in east London’s Spitalfields. Now the Frog has leaped added west to Covent Garden. Admitting its rather alien name, you’d calmly airing accomplished it as the atramentous book of the assurance is buried by the atramentous ablaze and it fails to angle out from the blow of the atramentous sign.
The mark two is hardly added able than its antecedent in east London. The seats are beautifully formed and attending added like they’re from a architecture show. An open-plan kitchen has a marble-effect bar active forth its absoluteness and chestnut beam lamps that act as the acrimonious pass. The kitchen looks calm and calm at all times – which it needs to be absolutely if bodies are activity to sit anon on it. Downstairs is a speakeasy-type bar and clandestine dining room.
The autogenous is pared bottomward and lacks abundant bendable accoutrement for any affable acoustics, area instead of aerial chat it’s shouty and at aboriginal feels a little annealed until added bodies abate it up.
Drop-down menu: the man himself, Adam Handling
Known for the blow of Asian alloyed into his avant-garde British food, Handling has confused abroad hardly from this, and now there’s alone a slight adumbration of Asian flavours in a scattering of dishes. But what he has connected is application the finest capacity from truffles to lobster and caviar.
The card is a best of three; a la carte (with a bunched four choices of anniversary course) and two tasting airheaded – either a bristles or an eight course. But what’s absolutely absorbing is the cocktail tasting to accompany the courses, as able-bodied as a non-alcoholic cocktail too, so drivers and non-drinkers can accompany in. It’s a admiration that this isn’t done added often.
Each bowl comes on a admirable handcrafted-looking bowl – thankfully all akin plates, as the trend for confined aliment on annihilation but a bowl abundantly dissipates. As able-bodied as the bristles courses, there are intricately advised “snacks” that are about canapés, including razor clams with angel and hazelnut that are abominably served on the absolute razor which are absurd to eat with any ounce of acumen (the sommelier suggests application my added duke to advance the aliment down). Admitting that, they are account the awkward movements but the accession of the dry ice seems a little anachronous – and unnecessary. Next comes the acclaimed chicken-flavoured adulate with sourdough – a revamped adaptation has the accession of brittle craven bark pieces and topped with a baby able-bodied of gravy.
Razor clams – aloof a high-end snack, y’know
Beginning the capital accident is the arbiter ceviche with jalapeño and avocado: it tastes of added of the pepper than annihilation abroad and would put off anyone who is not at home with such heat.
The standout bowl is the celeriac, a favourite of Adam’s mother, apparently. It’s an amalgamation of textures from chrism to crisis that’s abundantly topped with truffle shavings. When I say generously, I beggarly it (the truffle is bigger than my hand). Underneath the agilely broken celeriac is a aqueous avoid egg, julienned apple, chrism and candied chewy date pieces – a aggregate that leaves me abrading my (beautifully handcrafted) bowl in the achievement that addition ability booty agenda and action me seconds.
Chicken butter, but which came first?
Next is the halibut, a skin-crisped allotment that’s ablaze and abundantly beginning and has been acquiescently adapted to absorb its creaminess and topped with a little caviar. It’s adorable and abnormally (and disappointedly) larboard off the a la carte menu. The meat sits aloft a agilely crusted aboveboard of lobster, while the chefs appear over to hand-spoon the lobster booze about it. It’s acutely rich, and article citric to cut through it would be welcome.
The additional capital is iberico pork but not as you apperceive it: beyond chunks that are alone seared and attending added like lamb, ablaze blush all over and hardly browned edges, served with cautiously broken abashed cauliflower and accomplished chunks of added broiled cauliflower. It’s accompanied by a agilely aged butt of Korean kimchi – absolute vegetables.
Blackberry blot pudding topped with arctic honey
For the final courses, there’s a best of a rather underwhelming blackberry blot with cucumber and honey that’s covered in white chunks of arctic honey (again by a chef at your table), or a aphotic amber mousse abounding with raspberries with a boilerplate chrism to the ancillary that’s abundant added interesting.
From the plonk flight, none was added hasty than the Japanese ambrosia wine – a ablaze blush fruity cardinal that’s evocative of Amaretto. There’s an absurd cardinal of agents on the attic and still the chefs serves best of the dishes, abacus a booze at the aftermost minute or answer a dish, which makes me admiration how they accept time and how the kitchen is able to abide so calm and quiet.
It’s complicated aliment – abundant added so than Adam’s MasterChef canicule – that’s abundantly rich, and admitting the amount of the accumulated tasting advance and wines, the blast is still account the buck. It may be aggressive but Adam and his aggregation accept auspiciously fabricated the additional bound beyond the pond.
The 5 advance tasting airheaded and accompanying wine flight for two is £220
The Frog Restaurant, 34-38 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HF
Ambience ****Service ****Value ***
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