Friday, 23 December 2011


Julia Child once said ‘You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.’ By virtue of the three best meals I’ve eaten this year the following restaurants reflect Ms Child’s quote unwaveringly. They are 500, Malina and Medlar.

I can’t exactly remember how Medlar caught my attention but it must’ve been a fleeting glance at the menu a couple of months ago when grouse was featured. But thankfully this proved to be well-noted tick from the wish list.

Medlar’s location on Kings Road is hardly a place that encourages any welcoming of hoi polloi and if a certain part of London was to be given a go-ahead with being entirely walled or gated then the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea would be a prime contender. Keeping out the great unwashed in this part of town was decreed a long time ago.

Medlar belongs to the ‘informal’ fine dining category. It’s gratifying not to have to hush-speak or be clinically phlebotomised by the stuffiness that’s rife in most upmarket eateries. As dictated by consent, abattoir* or shabby chic is a no-no;
Medlar's dining room is properly done, properly kitted out, properly comfy and thus properly proper. The lunchers in their droves were mainly more mature than I am (and that’s saying something) and quite obviously not short of a bob or two. However I felt smug enough that I was allowed in wearing my back-to-front baseball cap moth-eaten beret, trademark distressed jeans and moon-stomped to the table with my pair of worn-out bovver boots.

The service was exemplary and never clingy. The Front-Of-House (was he Irish or from somewhere oop north?) was a total diamond geezer and he would’ve sorted Robert Dupea out in no time, diplomatically of course.

The concept at Medlar is simple enough, prix fixe for three courses only and if an aversion to puddings prevails on your behalf then auf wiedersehen, Pet…oh there’s always the cheese trolley that could soothe your soul instead!.

Most of the readers of my blog are non-foodies so I shall relief them of overused and poignant adjectives (but only for this post mind you). Therefore I shall only stick to one adjective and perhaps enhanced by the odd adverb of a numerical manner.

What my Dining Companion and I had-

DC’s starter of white onion soup with sautéed chanterelles, braised chicken wings and cheese straw.

It was delicious.

The chicken wing was memorable.

My braised tripe with soft polenta, tomato, fennel, paprika, bacon and gremolata.

This too was delicious.

I love tripe- so much so it was probably one of the reasons why my veggie GF and I are no longer an item.

DC’s second course of hake with a bacon and parsley crust, Jerusalem artichoke puree, rainbow chard and autumn truffle.

We both agreed the dish was doubly delicious (except for the odourless and pointless truffle).

Slight rant- the Spanish and Portuguese gobble up a substantial amount of hake landed by our fishing fleets, we should learn to embrace this fine-tasting fish more as it’s a viable alternative to cod and certainly a million times more tasty than the guilt-free but boring pollock.


My roast partridge with confit leg, pearl barley, foie gras and kale.

It was triply delicious.

This dish carried a three quid supplement but was not made aware on Medlar’s online menu. However the generous and delicious slice of foie gras more than made up for it.

The bird was probably hung longer than Hughie would’ve liked but I loved it and anyway he has morphed into a pseudo veggie, so good riddance to him.

The single confit leg also suggested that Medlar managed to pull off an exclusive by serving only one-legged partridges.

Tarte tatin with crème fraîche ice cream

A pudding course that was deemed quadruply delicious and possibly beyond.

The dessert was off-menu but my insistence acquired the better of me, the FOH gracefully relented and advised that discretion should be adopted when diving into the tart. Otherwise all hell would break loose if the other diners noticed we scoffing on something so enticing it would even sway the lotus-eaters.

Meanwhile the two ladies who were lunching next to us were enjoying their cheeses from the board noticed what appeared on our table. Thereafter a considerable ruckus occurred between them and the FOH. It was a case of ‘we want tarte tatin!’ to ‘sorry we’ve ran out of apples’ to ‘rubbish, they’re having it so we’ll have it as well!’ to ‘but they ordered it a day in advance’ to ‘but that gentleman wielding the camera noticed it on your menu online’ and to finally ‘Madame, that’s only a sample menu and we reserve the right to…ok (sigh), it’s only on this occasion we’ll serve you our last tarte tatin of the day but please I’m unable to fulfil the request in future’. The ladies thanked us for the heads up.

The tarte tatin at Medlar deserves to be a signature dish as it was undoubtedly better than the Maman version that I had at Raymond Blanc's Manoir many moons ago. You’ve never been to Medlar if you didn’t order the tarte.

Like kangcaneatnomore #sonottrue-

Medlar, bless its cotton socks, is my restaurant of 2011 as well.

* First coined by MsMarmitelover.

438 Kings Road
SW10 0LJ


thora said...

Good news: food. Bad news: veggie GF. Sorry to hear this.

bellaphon said...

:) At least we’re still good friends, in fact I’ll be cooking a nut roast dinner for her on Sunday!

thora said...

Good! Next good news: I'll be in London with 2 friends for a couple of days end of April, beginning of May. Dinner at MsMarmite's is planned, hopefully. Would be great to meet you.

bellaphon said...

Indeed we should!

Gastro1 said...

I would say it's the best new opening after Hedone in 2011.

Seasons Greetings

bellaphon said...

Hi Dino,

Thank you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you to! I will give Hedone a go next year.