MORE: IS MORE
Two brand spanking new restaurants opening a day apart but separated by much longer in their approach to the food they serve. Yesterday I visited the Eastside Inn in Clerkenwell which I will post about, as we used to say in the Civil Service, in the fullness of time. Today I visited a place that I hadn’t read or heard anything about – a real restaurant bolt from the blue.
When I worked on the South Bank in the early Nineties there were three top notch places to go for a long, usually boozy, lunch (they all were in those days): the estimable Masters Super Fish; Trevor Gulliver’s Fire Station and probably the best of the lot in terms of cooking, Livebait. A few years later when I relocated to the borders of London’s trendy Hoxton, there was another superb restaurant that had just opened called The Real Greek. What all these places had in common were restaurateurs Theodore Kyriakou and Paloma Campbell.
They’ve now sold up and moved on and opened a small restaurant near London Bridge in an area being rebranded as More London. More is going to be open seven days a week for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and (phew) Takeaway. As Paloma told me they want to provide, well, more.
I was initially drawn in by the interior. After eating out in so many gastropubs which to be honest can be a bit gloomy, or in more upmarket places which are the epitome of good taste i.e. as boring as hell, it was nice to find somewhere with a bit more oomph in the décor. The fab furnishings seemed to have an effect on the efficient staff as well – there were plenty of smiles all round – and made for an agreeable atmosphere. Once they start getting bums on seats More will have a real buzz.
There was also a brightness to the cooking from a menu which drew from sunny regions around the Mediterranean and had echoes of food I’d eaten at The Real Greek.
A dish of braised Squid tasted a lot better than its rustic appearance. Chunks of the small cephalopod were al dente but not at all tough. They came in a deeply flavoured broth enriched with fennel and saffron with flecks of chili adding a welcome kick.
Two fat, pink Lamb cutlets, came with some seasonal vegetables that had been slowly cooked but retained a little bite and were anointed with some of the cooking juices. There was also a big blob of a tremendous smoked Auvergne puree. Roast potatoes needed a bit more crunch but I finished them all anyway.
For sweet my selection of Ice Creams, freshly made every day, were superb in taste and texture and worth the entrance fee alone. Monmouth coffee was, well I don’t need to tell you, do I ?
All apparently simple food, sure, but prepared with such a light hand and with decent ingredients that I felt virtuous just eating it all. And I don’t get to feel virtuous very often.
You might get the impression from the above that I liked More a lot. You’d be right. At the risk of coming over all Sunday Colour supp and sounding like a complete div, it was fresh, fun and funky and I left with a smile on my face. It will be a Month of Sundays before I’ll a) use those words again and b) have a smile on my face so make the most of it pop pickers.