HEREFORD ROAD (REDUX)
While the music played you worked by candlelight
Those San Francisco nights (2008 style)
As we had visited St. John the other day I thought it would be a good idea to check out one of its progeny to see how the stout yeoman school of cooking was doing. By chance I went for Hereford Road in Notting Hill and blow me I only realised afterwards that I’d visited almost exactly one year ago. In fact, and no surprise here, I was the first paying customer through the door (though only after being told to walk around the block a few times as they were hoovering).
So what’s changed ? Very little really. Wine’s gone up a few quid - you used to be able to get a glass for £2.40 – the food has gone up a bit and side dishes are extra, but Crab with Mayonnaise is still a tenner. The upper and lower rooms still look the same, service is still pretty much on the money.
As for the food, well, it’s not bad. I wasn’t as wowed as I was the first time around but I suppose a year is a long time in eating out and I’ve had a lot of good meals since then.
Crispy Pork, Chicory and Mustard was a good plate that certainly delivered on the Crispy Pork component and the dressing and little chopped cornichons added the necessary piquancy.
Red-legged Partridge with Lentils didn’t work quite so well. Partridge should be cooked so that it’s slightly pink but this was over. Not a disaster as they’d manage to keep the flesh moist. The bird could have done with a bit more hanging.
I couldn’t taste the Girolles that were mixed in with the Lentils and there was too much liquid. The whole was underseasoned and a bit relentless to eat. It cried out for something like lardons to lift it. And what would have been so wrong with some bread sauce and game chips ? Best by test as they say.
I thought it a bit mean that I only got two scoops of the Caramel ice cream especially as it was so good. Rich and bitter it was some of the best I’ve had recently. A wafer wouldn’t have gone amiss either but that’s probably me being greedy (what me?).
With this style of cooking there’s nowhere to hide if the ingredients aren’t of a decent quality and the cooking itsn’t spot-on. Hereford Road almost gets it right and given the reasonable (for London) prices that makes it a decent local bet.
Happy First Birthday !