Monday, 2 February 2009

Hereford Road

Technically speaking this is my neighbourhood restaurant.
And by George, I love Hereford Road (the joint not the road!) to bits.

Game season is on!

Starters of...

...Ham Hock and Kohlrabi...

...and Duck Hearts and Dandelion Salad.

I must say that the texture of the hearts are fine by me (firm and vaguely chewy) but the taste is a tad too strong for me. I'll pass on this sort of hearts from now on. The salad however was beautifully dressed and gorgeous.

(Six birds...I did feel slightly contrite thereafter)

Grouse, Bread Sauce and Watercress

After the snipe, the grouse is my next favourite game bird to eat. If the bird on my plate doesn’t have more than a hint of bitterness (due to the birds’ diet of heather) with its flesh then I feel that I’ve been cheated. I love the bitter note of the grouse and as tradition dictates it has to be roasted briefly and served pink otherwise it’ll dry out and make it too dentally challenging to chew. Some fusspots leave the legs altogether as this is where most of the bitter loveliness is concentrated, what a waste of good eating I would say. Hereford Road roasts the bird perfectly and of all the London restaurants that serve game birds they’re also the cheapest. Three cheers for HR, hip, hip...!

Apple Jelly and Vanilla Ice Cream
HR will never win prizes for presentation, but that jelly was maximum drool!

Peach Melba
Good pudding, but let down again by the school dinners' approach to anti-presentation. Tom, please take heed and make it a bit prettier!
Dame Nellie Melba would turn in her so and so if she saw this!


Another dinner at HR that moved me...

How that thing appeared can only be down to my daughter Bron!

Grilled Razor Clams

Cockles, Cider and Lovage

Whole Seabass, Roast New Potatoes and green Sauce (For Two)

There are two ways to serve the freshest fish- steaming à la Chinoise or

Pemberton's method of roasting the fish with fennel twigs- miraculous!

Profiteroles and Chocolate Sauce

The most humblest and...

...sacredest pudding...

...Custard! or to be precise the Apple Crumble.
(enough to make one weep with joy!)


British Heritage

It began to snow when this pic was taken.

If Fergus Henderson’s St John was awarded an M star recently then Tom Pemberton’s Hereford Road deserves one as well. Hereford Road is one of my all time faves (which also include Hibiscus and Barrafina) for nonsuch scoffing in London.

Like Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry, our good man Pemberton works and slaves away in the open kitchen, jawohl, even on Sunday evenings! These folks are seriously dedicated; heroic eminence, for want of a better adjectival description!

The English really can cook (hi MsMarmitelover!) and absolute proof can be found here.

I’m utterly au fait with the dining room, it’s comfy and warmish, bright during lunch (thank you skylight)

and cosy in the evenings (clever distribution of halogens, etc.). The service is attentive and smiling and thankfully not at all clingy. The diners who frequent here are casual and easy going, obviously decorous foodies come to mind. You won’t find Henrys or Tamaras here, like you would at St John. Thank goodness. Oh, l’eau de Thames is actually pre-chilled in the fridge and service charge here is as apparent as the Thylacine.

Came here for dinner last night with Luckless George (so called for his lack of girlfriends).

His starter or rather snack of olives (I’m not partial to these things myself) was considered all too yum despite the minuscule size of the fruits.

My Devilled Kidneys on Toast were extraordinary.

Perfectly cooked and seasoned and just spicy enough for a cold winter’s evening. This dish was certainly mwah.

Wifeless George’s Grillled Lemon Sole and Fennel was pronounced brilliant and all too generous with the portion.

I helped myself to a bit of the fish and found the freshness of it impressive. The wonderful fennel deserved a mention; it was bitter and sweet, a perfect accompaniment for the fish.

Not quite the Grey Partridge, but my Red Leg Partridge, Lentils and Jerusalem Artichokes was delicious (I’ve been saving the word for this dish). The game season is drawing to an end so the dinner choice was a foregone conclusion.

The partridge was roasted beautifully, not too dried out and mildly gamey. I’ve had about five game birds now at Hereford Road, tonight’s wonderful effort was only second to a Grouse I had here last year.

The Bachelor ended his dinner with a rather pleasant Honeycomb Ice Cream and Shortbread but it was in no way as tantalising as my Sticky Date Pudding.

This amazing pudding although presented rather plain janeish (then again ‘tis English grub we’re talking here),

Here gregariously soaked with warm Crème anglaise

tasted of the usual sticky toffee with the added bonus of the sweet fleshy dates. Perfect.

Hereford Road is a joy to behold. Tom Pemberton, I kowtow to you.

My past encounter at Trusted Places.

Latest review of The Set Lunch- here.

3 Hereford Road
Westbourne Grove
London, W2 4AB

Archived Pics-

Watercress soup
Snipe and damson

Roast chicken and giroles

Forerib of beef

Jelly and shortbread


Crab toasts



There's none a better eating bird than the Grouse!


Hollow Legs said...

That jelly and shortbread looks exactly like the one I had at St John!

Hollow Legs said...

That jelly and shortbread looks exactly like the one I had at St John!

thora said...

I will have to stop reading your blog in the evenings - when I'm sitting here & craving for something sweet and sticky. Great pictures.

thora said...

And by the way, I used to live in Leinster Square, just around the corner. Light years ago.

bellaphon said...

Lizzie- I'm gonna to drag someone with me soon to reappraise St John for this blog.

Thora- I too live around here, but given the chance, move me further west towards Portobello Road!

kerstin said...

mmm, honeycomb icecream...what a lovely idea.
Thanks for the plug and looking forward to seeing you at my Underground restaurant on Saturday.
Possible menu:(exclusive to you)
Home made herb foccaccia
roasted tomato soup

gratin dauphinois

toss up between:
chocolate mousse
tarte tatin

Will decide when I see my veg box on thursday

bellaphon said...

Marmy- I can quite happily devour all three puddings. See you Sat.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see some more recent photos from here.
I must return soon.
Really like the food and the philosophy here.

bellaphon said...

Hi snob, thanks. Another place I've been meaning to seek out is Jeremy Lee's Blue Print Café; its location for me is a pain in the proverbial.

Anonymous said...

Took a look at the menu.
Similar to Hereford Rd, no? But it seems a tad pricier.
Look forward to reading it.

p.s. snob? that's far too formal. Please, my friends call me snobby :P

Ben said...

This looks really good and is walking distance from me, so I've no excuse really

Apologies for the sporadic comments but I've been working my way through your reviews rather sporadically..

bellaphon said...

Ben- I'm touched, keep 'em rollin'. HR's set lunches are great value as well!

Ben said...

Ah good timing. So I'm back and looking for somewhere special to go for a meal on a weekday this week.

I'm debating between Hereford Road, Dinings, Hix and St John's

Yeah, Dinings is a bit of a random addition there and the venue sounds grim.

Probably plump for Hereford Road given my previous comments

bellaphon said...

Hi Ben, I think St John would be great if you can bear the pretensions that some of their patrons exude and there's also the slight wait for the ideal time to dine there. I prefer HR, it's more down to earth but the ambience lacks the liveliness of either StJ or Hix. For a romantic dinner, Dinings fails on all accounts, lunch makes more sense.

Ben said...

I've booked HR..every man and his dog has been talking about StJ, and besides, HR is local

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