Go Native in Neal’s Yard
London is many things, busy, bustling, full of people, polluted, beautiful and what I perhaps love most of all, it has something for everyone. Me, I like, no I love food and I can’t imagine there being a better place to get authentic food from all corners of the world.
The other evening I met up with a friend, he is my most foodie friend and I never tire of talking to him, not only about food but it tends to be a key topic. This time we headed to one of the most charming yards in London, Neal’s Yard. It is a hidden gem that hides a multitude of, to me, new restaurants. Native opened last year and is about using great ingredients with foraged, wild produce. We got a seat at the chefs table and even before we were seated we had a discussion going about what we cooked last. He had a sleepless night and made ginger chutney, I was talking about pasta as this has been on my mind lately.
Whilst looking at the menu and debating what to order we got some focaccia to nibble on, if I was a baker, this is how I would like my foccacia to turn out.
The first dish we ordered was a wild boar ragu, it came with salsify and we watched as the chef plated up and it looked irresistible.
The ragu was so light it was incredible. Salsify complimented the ragu perfectly, it was such a clever dish.
The next dish was Jerusalem artichoke, always a favorite of mine but we chose it for the cheese, Lincolnshire poacher. This cheese is made from fresh unpasteurised milk with traditional methods. The dish also had English grains and watercress. When it comes to that vibrant green I think watercress is amazing.
This dish looked very small but was rich and the grains added a great texture.
By the time we had finished the starters we had covered a multitude of topics. Service was slowing down and the chef started talking to us, making the conversation even more foodie, my kind of evening.
For main course the venison with venison jam, turnips and venison bone marrow crumb had to be ordered. Sadly I ate it before I remembered to take a photo, has that ever happened to you?
The second main course was hake with split pea dahl and cauliflower leaf pakora.
We were aiming for the three course menu but had to stop here and ended up, I know this sounds silly, sharing a caramelized honey truffle with marshmallow. It was so rich it was actually possible and I am glad we ordered it as it was an absolutely delicious way to end a fantastic dinner.
We had plenty of wine, indulged in foodie talk and realized it was our 17th friendship anniversary. I love to meet new people but over time only a handful of friends will always be there. Food and friends is an unbeatable combination and Native was the perfect place to celebrate. If you are in Covent Garden, don’t hesitate to pop in for great food in a relaxed and welcoming environment.