1251, LON­DON N1

Olive - - EAT -

Chef James Cochran’s new north Lon­don restau­rant sees quirky small plates served from 11am to 11pm, along­side Brick Brew­ery beers, or­ganic wines and fra­grant, grown-up cock­tails. Af­ter de­vel­op­ing a love of seafood in his home­town of Whit­stable, James learnt his craft in the Miche­lin-starred kitchens of The Led­bury and The Har­wood Arms be­fore open­ing his first restau­rant, James Cochran EC3. In his lat­est pro­ject, 1251 sees Ken­tish pro­duce take cen­tre stage in re­fined but play­ful dishes.

Spread across two funky, painted wooden floors of a Vic­to­rian build­ing, min­utes from An­gel and High­bury & Is­ling­ton tube sta­tions, the dé­cor is min­i­mal but con­tem­po­rary with pink leather ban­quettes and mod­ern art. We’re ad­vised to or­der a cou­ple of ‘snacks’ each be­fore mov­ing on to at least one or more ‘plates’ proper – the idea is to share.

Don’t leave with­out or­der­ing the fried but­ter­milk rab­bit – it’s the best dish on the menu. Gnarly and su­per crunchy, but still juicy and ten­der, it gets even bet­ter thanks to some arty blobs of sweet apri­cot, fra­grant tar­ragon and a snow shower of freshly grated horse­rad­ish. Smoked kip­per and leek toastie, with sweet, crunchy brioche slices, is per­fectly bal­anced and so good that you’ll prob­a­bly need to or­der a sec­ond. Potato ‘spaghetti’ comes cloaked in a hol­landaise-like burnt but­ter cream with gen­er­ous grat­ings of truf­fle and cured egg yolk, while a plate of pork piles on the flavour with blood pud­ding, turnip kim­chi, miso and smoked eel (it works). Desserts are equally ex­per­i­men­tal – toasted oat cus­tard tart with rasp­ber­ries is pepped up with pep­per.

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