Friday night. 7pm. Mayfields. 52 Wilton Way.
Where has November run away to?
Where has November run away to?
With the sudden realisation that I could count out the number of November evenings left, I turned to B and announced that on Friday we would be going to Mayfields. I couldn't finish the month without my November to-do list being complete. Slight neurosis on my part.
Friday night saw a very long, very slow bus journey all the way from the 'office' in Covent Garden. Finally, almost an hour later, we reached Hackney. I am obsessed with this area of London and dream of living there some day soon. But this bus journey did manage to make me slightly more content with my current home in Bethnal Green.
We stepped inside this simply understated tiny white box decorated only with a jagged wooden wall dotted with lights. The week was sighed away with a quince gin fizz and a seat at a teeny tiny table. So many people have commented upon the size of their seats, complained about being squashed and uncomfortable. Honestly, it's not worth whining about. These small seats is what means the restaurant can exist as a business, can make enough money and turn enough tables. What's more, they also enable the relaxed, busy atmosphere that comes with that number of people in that sized space. London rent prices as they are, you're just going to have to get over not having a whole banquette to yourself.
After the wonderful new use of quince (to be made at home) in the gin fizz, and B's G&T, we scoured the menu. A simple list of ingredients made up the description of each dish. No hint at how anything was cooked, how it would be served. The only size indicator was the slight change in prices among the plates. They recommended 4 or 5 plates between two. Reluctantly we obeyed, leaving the other half of the menu to our imagination.
Potato, Rocket, Chestnut & Ginger merged typically British seasonal produce with an added buzz thanks to the exotic, warming ginger (another of B's favourite ingredients).
Ricotta, Anchovy & Buckwheat was slightly too salty and dry - too much fish to ricotta ratio. And yes, we are slightly spoiled with ricotta expectations after our trip to Sicily in September. Herring, Horseradish, Salsify & Watercress redeemed everything and we were back on track. Vivid dabs of greens, delicate, metallic diamonds of herring, and a Bridget Riley-esque plating.
Turbot, Carrot, Pumpkin, Walnut & Ricotta was Instagram perfect and reminiscent of The Young Turks food in its ability to be delicious and beautiful. So often restaurants (rather like Frances of GBBO fame), place style over substance. As we all learned from Paul Hollywood's incessant repetitions, this is not what the customer wants. It is a marvellous, giggle-inducing surprise when such a pretty plate is so full of fascinating flavours.
And last but not least was Cod, Lardo, Leek, Mushroom & Jerusalem Artichoke. The muddy, dark flavours of the artichoke and wild mushrooms was balanced beautifully by the sweet onions, salty lardo and fresh cod.
The much shorter journey home saw me house-spotting again. The bus journey had been forgotten and I would happily add an extra half hour on to my commute if Mayfields could become my 'local'.
Highlight: beautiful presentation which matched the flavours
Lowlight: Ricotta, Anchovy & Buckwheat