18 April 2012
The Laughing Gravy
154-156 Blackfriars Road
020 7998 1707
Parenthood opens up many new facets to your life and makes you obsessed with sh*t. There I have said it, maybe I shouldn't go all faecal when chatting about food but that's what I do now so chin up and bear it.
Only the guys from CSI and Tony Robinson's Time Team are more obsessed with poo than a new parent. You analyse the colour, consistency and regularity and spend hours discussing it without even realising.
Baldrick and his gang are worse however as they surmised an amphitheatre had been constructed just outside Doncaster because they had found a 1000 year old plop belonging to Augustus Aureallarse.
So it was a relief for me and the Mrs to leave the confines of our abode, leaving the 'sh*t machine' at home, and venture out for some grub to a bar that on its website promises it is 'one of London's best kept secrets.'
It is rather stuck in the hinterland between the Elephant and Blackfriars/Waterloo but this makes it more convenient to a number of crowds if you think about it.
Before entering I was rather expecting above average pub grub and a bit of spit and sawdust honesty in the venue. But this place is more restaurant/bar than the other way around and whilst there is room for boozers the emphasis is on the food.
The décor is open, well lit and welcoming as were the friendly staff who showed us to our seats next to an old piano. Thankfully the Mrs didn't indulge us with her musical gifts as her violin efforts of late would have Sherlock Holmes cringing with embarrassment.
Happily ensconced we chatted 'adult chat' (not that type, we're married now) whilst we waited for our grub to arrive. The menu itself was an impressive list catering for veggies and those intolerant to wheat with an array of dishes.
We shared our salad which was a well presented and dressed meal with nice slivers of duck spread throughout it. I did think at one stage that it could have done with more duck, but on reflection the zing of the dressing, pepper from the leaves and rich tasty morsels of duck was more than enough.
One other starter was particulary eye-catching and showed the level of skill and eye for detail the chef has at the Gravy as what appeared to be two giant cherries, a al fruit machine stylee, floated past our eyes.
They were in fact chicken liver and foie gras mousse in black cherry jelly. A feast for the eyes and the kind of presentation that brings a smile to your face.
The mains were not quite as pretty, still very well presented, but were cracking dishes packed full of vim and flavour.
The lamb was cooked to a lovely tender texture and the piccalilli and vegetable mix that accompanied it gave it layers of taste from zing to smooth and many in between.
A couple of well cooked fondant spuds rounded off a marvellous dish.The fish was also a cracker again cooked with care, with the John Dory punching out of a hefty flavour combination that came with it. Hard to fault either dish, which were a touch pricey but worth every single penny.
We settled on one dessert but it was a lovely twist of an old favourite, crumble and custard. You could really taste the white chocolate that gave the sauce an unusual but pleasing twist and soothed the sharpness of the berries in the crumble. By the way, hazelnuts in the topping is a mark of genius.
With nights out at a premium for us new parents we really felt our evening at the Gravy was one well spent, and one that should be repeated more importantly.
I did wonder on leaving how this place was one of the Capital’s 'best kept secrets', that's how impressed I was by the fare on offer.
Having checked on tripadvisor.com when I got home it seems the secret is very much out as the Gravy is ranked tenth out of 9,546 eateries in the capital having been reviewed 276 times by casual punters.
A great evening was rounded off well as I was able to take my wife in The Ring on the way home. Because of course the boxing themed pub is only a stone’s throw away, ahem.
Laphroaig cured Barbary duck breast,
candied truffle chestnut and pickled salsify salad £7.50
Pan fried John Dory fillet with purple sprouting broccoli,
sugar snap peas and beans tossed in butter and wild garlic with herb crushed potatoes £18.50
West country organic cider-marinated lamb rump with herb-infused fondant potatoes,
broad bean piccalilli and crushed truffle minted pea and broad beans £18.50
Wild forest berries, hazelnut and elderberry wine crumble with white chocolate custard £7
Bottle of Ponte Pietra 2010 - White Wine £16
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