Let me begin this review not with the description of the place or the reason why I went there, but with the food and drink. My starter was the nicest piece of fish I had tasted in a very long time, if not ever. The generous portion of Caraway Cured Sea Trout with pickles, cabbage and dill (£7.00) was fresh, full of flavours and so delicious, I didn’t want to stop eating.
And… after the first sip of the fabulous British Sparkling wine Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2009 my taste buds went straight to heaven. It was actually so good I wrote down the name, Googled it, and bought a bottle the very next day from here. The wine is really fizzy, dry and perfect for everyday drinking and special occasions.
My friend Diana was equally impressed with her starter of leg of partridge, quince, honey and oatmeal (£7.50) and also claimed it was a long time since she had eaten such a lovely dish.
So where did we taste these fabulous things? The place is a British brassiere called Manson at 676 Fulham Road in London. The new chef Alan Stewart, who previously worked at Launceston Place and Michelin starred Chez Bruce, took over the command of the kitchen in October. He is championing a ‘field to fork’ philosophy of local and seasonal produce, and so the menus are constantly changing.
Many of the ingredients are picked from the restaurant’s own allotments and Britain’s woodland and hedgerows. The kitchen staff bake their own bread twice a day, smoke their own meat and fish, butcher the whole animals and even churn their own butter.
The menu is so fabulously British that sitting in a busy London restaurant I could close my eyes and imagine a relaxing weekend in the countryside and the beautiful scenery where the ingredients come from.
Dreaming about the beach and the sea (in summer months, mind you!) I ordered Wild Black Bream, Norfolk mussels, sprout leaves and smoked bacon (£17.00). Diana was up for some more gamey meat and chose Roast Gurnard, salt baked parsnip, black cabbage and fennel seed yoghurt (£14.50).
I got a bit more than what I had dreamt about, because my meal was so full of the flavours of the sea, it was almost too much. Add the smoked bacon to the taste of seafood and your palate is incredibly busy working overtime. Diana was very happy with the strong flavours of her wild duck – the meat juicy, soft and perfectly cooked.
We shared a piece of apple tart with clove ice-cream (£6.50) to finish off our British meat and seafood feast. It was divine! We cleaned off the plate with delight and had some port to wash down the delicious dessert.
Manson’s warm light, taupe and cream colours, wood-panelled bar, chestnut leather banquette seating and wooden tables create a cosy and quite grown-up atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for dinner on a dark winter night. In warmer weather, the brasserie’s doors open out onto the Fulham Road for alfresco dining.
Address: 676 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5SA
Phone: +44 20 7384 9559
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