Sunday, 3 May 2015

Granger & Co, Clerkenwell, London

Fresh goat’s cheese, tarragon, dill, chilli & flatbreads
"Why do they have to put chill in everything? This only a simple tagliatelle, why is there chilli in it?"

We've all had that slight 'oh no' feeling when first being seated at a restaurant. The tables are a bit too close together for that romantic meal / gossipy catch up you were hoping for and the people that you are sitting a little too close to, frankly, look like they might be a bit annoying.

As we were seated at Granger & Co last Saturday night we had that feeling. One of the first (not particularly annoying) comments from our neighbours made was about the level of chilli in the food. Come On! This is Bill Granger, that icon of Sydney cooking who knocks out plate after plate of perfect scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes. If a dish has chilli in it, it's there for a reason.

Miso aubergine, fried tofu & shiso
However, it turns out their our neighbours were right. There was a complete overload of chilli, making appearance in all of the six small plates we shared.

Yes, it was meant to be there in the Korean Fried Chicken (which was the best dish of the night for me) but in other dishes it just felt a bit lazy. Like they'd thrown some chilli in because they couldn't think of any other seasonings. The  spiced lamb, aubergine tahini, halloumi, ricotta, parsley & pomegranate pizzetta could have really been lifted by some lemon zest or fresh mint, but instead was sprinkled with the default dried chilli.

Kim chee, spinach & ricotta dumplings, toasted chilli oil
It sounds like I am being quite down on Granger & Co, and in a way I am. Bills in Sydney hold some great memories for me and is a place I love going to and I was hoping that the London outpost of the same chain would be just as good.

The menu was in the classic Bill Granger style sounding light and fresh with a heavy dose of Asian fusion mixed in. There were some fun dishes, like the Korean Fried Chicken, where you could make your own lettuce parcels of chicken, herbs, lime juice and chilli sauce. The fresh goats cheese & flatbread was a winning start and I was pleasantly surprised by the French toast tiramisu dessert I had. I liked the rosehip & mint punch. Our waitress was knowledgable and friendly and there were awesome Aesop toiletries in the bathrooms.

Korean fried chicken, iceberg lettuce, spring onion & chilli sesame
However, too many of the dishes missed for me. Apart from the over abundance of chilli, the wrappers on the spinach and ricotta dumplings were too thick and doughy and the others didn't really come together as I hoped they would. I thought the pricing was a bit funny too, with all of the dishes nearly the same price, but the chicken a large portion and the charred baby corn just six pieces.

I was hoping to find a place where I could close my eyes and taste Sydney when I'm feeling a little homesick, but sadly it didn't happen for me.

Charred baby corn, mayo & parmesan

Spiced lamb, aubergine tahini, halloumi, ricotta, parsley & pomegranate pizzetta

Tiramisu french toast, cherries & cacao nib almond brittle

Chilled pandan rice pudding & poached fruit


Granger & Co
50 Sekforde Street
London
EC1R 0HA
Granger & Co on Urbanspoon

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