Saturday, 30 June 2018

Rochelle Canteen ICA, London restaurant review

Posh and Becks, Beyonce and Jay Z, Harry and Meghan, George and Amal.

There’s something enthralling about the concept of the power couple - twice the celebrity, twice the talent and twice the Instagram following.

In the restaurant world, Margot and Fergus Henderson are the closest thing it gets.

Margot is the co-owner of caterers Arnold & Henderson and the Rochelle Canteen, a legendary and well-hidden Bethnal Green restaurant.

Fergus is the father of Nose to Tail cooking and owner of Michelin-starred St John.

Last year, Margot opened a second branch of Rochelle Canteen in the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall in central London. The modern and minimalist space is a good fit for Margot’s confidently simple British cooking.

The menu is a belter - seasonal, to the point, and packed with dishes with ingredient combinations which you know are going to be full of flavour. 

A bunch of refreshing radishes (£5.50) were served with a compellingly savoury and smooth anchovy mayonnaise. This is a dish I’m going to attempt to replicate at home. 

Hunks of soft sourdough (£1.50) were served with a big slab of creamy butter. 

Oily and meaty smoked trout (£8.50) was served with deseeded cucumber dressed with a sinus-warming mustard mayo speckled with dill. All the textures and flavours balanced beautifully and it was a clever use for this ubiquitous salad vegetable. 

A cold beetroot soup (£5.50), dotted with chives and a blog of creme fraiche, was a super springtime dish. Thick, sweet, earthy and cooling, its richness was punctured by a delicate note of acidity. 

Onto mains (£16), and a handsome puff pastry-capped pie was filled with tender guinea fowl in a light, delicately sweet, meaty and buttery cider sauce.

This was a very generous dish for one and if Margot Henderson says it’s a pie, even if it has no bottom, then I’m not arguing.

A whole shrubbery of verdant, buttery and peppery greens (£4) defeated us. 

Crisp-crumbed, deep fried rabbit (£16.50) was a proper guilty pleasure. The flesh was a touch on the dry side but it was a great match with crunchy, citrusy, palette-cleansing kohlrabi and cabbage shavings flecked with punchy capers and parsley. A big dollop of aioli honked of garlic. 

A trifle for two (£10) was a handsome devil. Layers of thick whipped cream, decadent vanilla-fragranced custard, soft rhubarb without a hint of tartness, and brandy soaked sponge fingers were an awesome combination. 

It was made even better by a generous scattering of Frostie-like nutty almond clusters. 

Lunch at Rochelle Canteen was my kind of meal - seasonal, flavour-packed and uncomplicated. This is a big central London winner.

The Details:

Address - Rochelle ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Web -
Telephone - 020 7729 5677

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