Victoria Purcell ventures out of her beloved south east London to experience some of the capital’s finest – and very British – West End dining at Tredwell’s by Marcus Wareing
Scroll to the bottom for an exclusive free drink offer for all The Resident readers at Tredwell’s
Fire and fizz, that’s exactly how a girl likes to be greeted. The flames burning outside Tredwell’s in Seven Dial’s, the latest offering from Marcus Wareing Restaurants, add a little drama to your evening ahead, and a glass of fizz on being seated sure takes the edge off a long day.
This was my first experience dining at Tredwell’s – winner of AA’s 2015 Restaurant of the Year – and it won’t be my last. There’s something very British about it. As well as the promise of ‘modern London cooking’ – the staff are friendly and relaxed (and will help you choose dessert with genuine concern when you’re flummoxed), the decor is smart but relaxed and moody, and the menu features delights such as Brixham crab, braised oxtail, braised cod and saddleback pork chop. There are a few subtle, uplifting exotic flavours woven into the menu, of course, like coconut and harissa, which create a very well balanced modern menu.
To start, we went for the delightfully delicate marinated salmon with lime, fennel coconut and basil, and flavourful harissa-glazed aubergine with peanuts, coriander and chilli, two very different dishes, but both sounded so delicious we had to share for the risk of serious food envy.
We’d tried to keep things light and nutritious for the starters because we both had eyes for a hearty red-meat-and-potato main course. I ordered the slow-cooked smoked beef shin. So delicious. So meltingly soft. I first came across beef cooked like this in a SmokeStak burger at Lewisham Model Market and it was a revelation. I believe slow-cooked BBQ meats are very much ‘in’ and I do hope they stay so. I greedily paired mine with the blue cheese croquettes, a full-on flavour combination, but I was feeling bold. The waitress approved of my decision with a sturdy nod as she said, ‘Good choice’. A side dish of wilted rocket and curly kale kept me just on the right side of gluttony, I think.
My friend ordered a 35-day dry aged fillet steak (‘Really good’, she said, ‘way better than the steaks in Texas’ – she had recently returned from a business trip out there – ‘They’re just… big.’), with sides of excellent triple-cooked chunky chips and spinach. The chips came with a light, homemade hollandaise that was outstanding, although I’m still a little upset that neither of us ordered the polenta chips, I do love a polenta chip.
I had planned to accompany my beef with a glass of Carmeniere, a New World wine from Chile. I’m not sure if it would have made a good match, and I never got the chance to find out, as my friend craftily ordered a carafe of Sauvignon blanc to share as the starters arrived. We had initially declined a wine order, since we both had early starts in the morning, so she caught me off guard with that one. In that very British way, though, I just shrugged and acquiesced. It was fine with the starters, but I had to abandon it while I enjoyed my main course. Sure, I could have ordered an additional glass of red, which the wait staff would have been happy to recommend, but knowing that I can’t leave a carafe unfinished, I thought less was probably more on this occasion.
I couldn’t finish the beef. The portions are substantial. But my friend has a sweet tooth and, for the sake of keeping her company, I ordered the poached pear with coconut while she opted for the wholesome brownie, with a small serving of salted caramel ice cream on the side, because she wanted both desserts so badly the waiter capitulated and let her (their salted caramel is legendary, he said, so it’s only right that you try a bit). It was pretty amazing. But my friend found the healthy brownie too healthy. Not wicked enough. Still, she polished off her dessert-double no problem, while I shook my head, grinned at her and polished off the last of the Sauvignon blanc.
This is a great restaurant. Handsome decor, efficient, friendly staff and delicious, balanced food that’s very good value for its central London location. Next time though, I’m definitely taking control of the wine list.
Tredwell’s is offering The Resident readers a complimentary drink upon arrival. To claim your Blood Orange & Rosemary Bellini for you and a friend please quote RESIDENT016 on arrival at Tredwell’s.
Terms & Conditions: The offer is available until 15 April 2016. Two Bellini’s available per reader. Offer can only be claimed once.
4A Upper St Martin’s Lane WC2H 9NY; 020 3764 0840; tredwells.com