Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Admiral Codrington

On settling the bill:

Fat Les- ‘Erm, what’s the cover charge for?’

Young Inexperienced But Obliging Waiter- ‘Bread’

FL and dining companion in unison- ‘But we didn’t have any bread!’

YIBOW- ‘Oh but no but there was the ketchup, sugar…’

FL- ‘What? You pulling my leg?’

YIBOW- ‘I don’t write the rules’

Gobsmacked, we paid and legged.

On re-inspecting the bill three hours later in my bath:

FL- F**K me! They actually charged me for a pint of Caledonian 80/- I never had!

Fat Les’ Imaginary Friend- You what?

FL- Well I did initially order a pint of the beer but was told they had ran out so I opted for a bottle of Michael Winner’s favourite instead.

FLIF- Pox on him.

FL- No, pox on the management for the lack of training and insight!

F**K!² x F**K!² x F**K!²

Ad Cod is located in a swanky part of London and so by default, its purposefulness of being an upmarket pub is understandably valid. In spite of the couple of hiccups, Ad Cod serves up seriously good no-nonsense food. My only reason for coming here was because of its praiseworthy burger mentioned by Tom at Honest Burgers. But the sheer number of positive reviews and gushing tweets surrounding Ad Cod’s burger have been alarmingly off-putting and as a result I could see my burger ambitions in SW3 thwarted in no time (think Bar Boulud). But I relented in the end and was rewarded with a damn fine meal.

The impression I got from Ad Cod’s homepage was it somewhat encourages all potential diners to book ahead or you’ll soon be sorry. This I duly did but it was all quite unnecessary (and embarrassing as well) as the restaurant was almost deserted on the Sunday evening we visited. The ambience had an air of stuffiness about it which unfortunately doesn’t bode well as a pub restaurant, in fact the dining room was more like a discarded wing from the nearby celebrity-haunt that’s Daphne’s. If talking with a normal voice approximate to a sound pressure level of 70 dB then the atmosphere at Ad Cod’s certainly suggested we should all utter at no louder than 65 dB. A good example of a pub serving top-notch food without any plaguey pretensions to do with interior design or hush-hush dining is The Harwood Arms.

However the service courtesy of YIBOW was polite and helpful. For wine connoisseurs you’ll be pleased to know that the restaurant possesses an enviable list of one of the greatest wines in the world. All the different vintages of Sassicaia available are priced at no more than £250.00 a bottle. The same wine at either Locanda Locatelli or L’Anima would set you back up to £800.00!

We started off with a snack of Scotch Egg.
Although it lacked the yielding and runny yolk that’s characteristic of most established standards like here and here, it was simply scrumptious. I believed the secret of Ad Cod’s effort was due to the sausage meat filling, in itself beyond compare. The next time I’m here, I would quite happily order three eggs and without an ounce of guilt or constraint, devour all of them in one go.

We shared a starter portion of Caesar Salad.
This came with crispy pancetta and a poached egg. Now I’m au fait with the latter for not being runny (yet again) as the dressing for the salad was probably made with raw yolks in the first place and to have more of it we’ll all panic and end up like Eggwina! I’ve always thought the best Caesar Salad I’ve eaten in London was at Le Caprice but I’m happy to report that Ad Cod’s version surpassed it. The relative formula of the crucial ingredients combined was spot-on but then again this could be down to the wonderful dressing. So whilst not the most purist of Caesars, Ad Cod managed to impress with their renditition, it was the best salad of its kind and done so without the addition of either chicken strips or anchovies. Brilliant.

The Dining Companion’s mains of Smoked Haddock and Salmon Fishcake with Steamed Spinach, Tomato Chutney and Sorrel Sauce.
For a dish that has been made with "leftover fish" and "cold potatoes"* I believe most of us have accepted and taken the ordinariness of fishcakes for granted. But not so at Ad Cod, like the Caesar Salad, the kitchen’s aptness in balancing the ingredients to create a standout dish shone through again. The smokiness of the haddock worked beautifully with the gentle sharpness of the sorrel and unlike most other fishcakes, the mashed potato within played an absolute second fiddle. This dish deserved to be put on the map.

The Ad Cod Burger

Or an 8oz cheeseburger served with pickles, lettuce, tomato, secret sauce and faultless chips. The burger was perfectly formed and proportioned. And it would be poncey to use cutlery to tackle the sandwich, so down on all fours please and get your paws dirty!

It was also the most medium rare of all medium rare requests. The burger nazis would balk about the brioche bun and the use of a non-American cheese, well they can ‘thcream and thcream and thcream 'till they’re thick’ because I’m having none of it, so-

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This was a kind of burger that no matter how hard I tried to nit-pick with every single bite, I failed. Everything about it was correct, precise and most importantly, delicious. The chap who conceived it must be a consummate master of burgers. I’ve decided to introduce tenths into my scores for the best burgers in London, the Ad Cod's version thus reigneths at 9.2. It would also be interesting to see how this scoring system pans out when I embark on my Hamburger Tour in 2013.

We ended our meal with a shared crumble of raspberries and summat.

It too was excellent, but too small to share; four spoonfuls later…absorbed.

The meal at The Admiral Codrington was by no means cheap, but both the execution and cooking of everything we ate that evening were consistently good enough to garner a must-visit endorsement. Let’s just hope you enjoy the home of London’s ace burger as much as I did.

* Mrs Beeton

17 Mossop Street
London SW3 2LY



Dad said...

Having figured out that your 'full stops, brackets and slashes' all cleverly lined up were in fact "flipping one the bird", I'll keep my mouth shut about the brioche bun and settle for, 'by 'eck lad, that burger is a monster!'

And is that a perfectly sliced and sized piece of beef tomato I see underneath some very generous lengths of gherkin?

The photo' alone shows it deserved the 0.2 upgrade. Well done that man!!

bellaphon said...

Dad- twas good and thanks for the comment.

steve said...

Well, I'm afraid that I 'am' a burger Nazi, but a broad minded one, so although i would prefer a 'normal' bun I shall accept 'the bird' for stating as much.

cover charge is a piss take tho'

Sophie Casha said...

By and large (super injoke) I totally adore this place, I love the fact that fine dining is rapidly becoming passe, please can you review some of the stunning lebanese cafes around curzon street? They do a fiesty fry up! WITH HUMMUS. Inspiring, non? x

bellaphon said...

Steve- And the best thing about the place is YOU don’t have to cross the river for a fix of burger heaven.

Sophie - Thank you for your comments. Now because Edgware Road is right at my doorstep I never have to venture beyond Little Lebanon to satisfy my hummus cravings. But I do love the idea of eating fried eggs and hummus in posh Mayfair, I must take a stroll down Curzon Street soon.

Gastro1 said...

Guess what the burger is even better now than it was last month - that Fred Smith is the man IMHO