Many of the UK’s best chefs have raised their profiles by competing on TV cookery competitions. It makes a great deal of sense as you can put bums on seats in your restaurant without the expense of paying for advertising or PR.
London’s Perilla can count themselves amongst the savviest when it comes raising their profile by appearing on TV.
Chef owner Ben Marks is one of the standout contestants on this season’s Great British Menu, senior sous chef and Welshman Adam Wood recently impressed on Million Pound Menu with his concept Coracle and another member of the brigade recently competed on Masterchef the Professionals.
It was thanks to seeing Ben’s and Adam’s cooking on the telly that I was itching to visit Perilla.
Located in a bright and airy corner spot in Newington Green, Perilla serves modern and seasonal small plates. I gobbled down their well-priced set menu (£44) whilst perched at the bar with a cracking view of the pass.
During the meal I drank a couple of glasses of excellent wine - a refreshingly effervescent Ameztoi txakoli (£7.50) and a sherry-like Honorio Rubio Macerado orange wine (£8).
A trio of snacks set a seriously high standard which was maintained throughout the meal.
Delicate leaves of crispy kale were blobbed with rich salted egg yolk and bright avocado.
A small piece of yesterday’s bread was the embodiment of moules marinière. The crumb was soaked in a creamy white wine sauce whilst the crisp crust provided the vehicle for a deep flavoured mussel puree.
High end filth took the form of a dainty fillet of flaky gurnard coated in light beef dripping batter. Blobs of salty and tart gooseberry puree and fragrant curry leaves added complexity whilst a dish of deeply spiced chip shop curry sauce kept the dish firmly in junk food territory.
No ordinary bread and soup was up next.
A hollowed out onion was filled with a deep grey burnt onion soup with a big hit of allium, tang of cultured cream and a complex charred note.
Sourdough was light of crumb, crisp of crust, flecked with umami-rich seaweed and paired with whipped caramelised brown butter.
A clever reference to spaghetti ragu saw threads of al dente monk’s beard greens coated in a properly meaty red wine braised cod head ragu without the merest hint of fish. Salty bottarga-infused toasted breadcrumbs dialled up the luxury.
A bowl of big Spanish flavours saw a tender piece of chicken sat in a chicken and Albariño broth and topped with a smokey chorizo sauce. The kicker was a trio of charred and bitter padron peppers each filled with a different flavour-packed puree - red pepper, honking garlic and verdant parsley.
An intensely herbal coriander, basil and tarragon sorbet was the perfect palette cleanser before two dessert beasts.
A golden and flaky pastel de nata was loaded with silky egg custard and topped with pieces of cleansing blood orange.
Finally, a crunchy chocolate biscuit base was topped with nut studded salted caramel and the glossiest of thick chocolate ganaches.
Lunch at Perilla is an early contender for my best meal of 2019. I seriously recommend checking out their huge flavoured, technique-packed food.
Address - Perilla, 1-3 Green Lanes, Newington Green, London N16 9BS
Telephone - 0207 359 0779