Never has the competition ever been so vast for the red carpet, Michelin stars, praise and innovation behind a new opening. It’s not often that my ears prick up on red alert; my inner urges stating ‘I just have to go ‘. Alas, Craft London pricked up my ears like a wild rabbit’s reaction to a rustle in a bush. Why? I love quality, local produce, flavour and foraging. Their meats are smoked in their own smoke house in the Peninsula Garden next to the restaurant; additionally they grow all veg, herbs and have their own beehives. Everything is handmade or locally or through relationships with UK suppliers supporting the environment and independent farmers etc thus cultivating excellence and quality.
Stevie Parle, acclaimed chef, author, food writer and TV presenter is the man behind the three floors of culinary curiosity and Tom Dixon’s interior design. Designed by Design Research Studio and forms part of the Greenwich Peninsula development. The design reflects the approach to the food and drink, working with British craftsmen and women to create a modern setting. Craft London is located in an original building by Marks Barfield at the entrance to a beautiful new park designed by Alys Fowler with Design Research Studio. The development is set to be a new residential and cultural hub.
My arrival was smooth, it was the first time my citymapper app had told me public transport was quicker than my bike. I had reluctantly left my bike to take the jubilee line to north Greenwich. I don’t know what I was searching for but when I arrived I was very intruiged. I walked through a shop and was shot up in a lift to their cocktail bar with a stunning terrace around the entire venue overlooking their Greenwich Peninsula Garden’s meadow, orchard, smoke house and bee hives, as well as the Thames and Canary Wharf.
We enjoyed drinks on the terrace, braving the fierce breeze. My first cocktail choice was the ‘More Please’ cocktail. A milky frothy coupe of gin whipped with camomile infused apricot, honey and egg white. The calm camomile and milky texture was exactly what I needed to ground me after my hectic tube journey. I later ventured afield to try their ‘Old Fashion Buzz’ cocktail, a slowly stirred mix of craft London coffee infused with old scout bourbon and golden syrup, deviously drinkable. This is hardly surprising when the cocktail bar team is headed up by Adam Wyatt Jones. Adam has put together a list that focuses on sourcing small batch British products like fruit liquors from Wiltshire and Cider Brandy from Julian Temperley, alongside a huge collection of British gin and great whisky.
Next we went to the restaurant on the floor below, a blue beaming design bomb at the handy works of the infamous Tom Dixon. His classic copper cropping up in subtle glimmers. There is an option to take la carte menu as well as an ambitious 6-course menu (£65) set lunch menu (£28) and a pre-show 90 minute menu (£30/£40). We opted for the a la carte menu, of course. Each and every dish was stunning. Starting with their snacks, we stared in awe at the three native oysters, each marinated with cucumber, borage and rhubarb. Their Einkhorn drop scone, duck liver and last summers damsons was a superb pairing and fusion of flavours. The smoked cods roe; homemade oat crisp and radish’s were also great to entice the taste buds.
Already blown away we marched onto our starters. The scallops, mussels and clams porridge with parsley sauce were incredible, we had to refrain from ordering a second round. For mains were went for the slightly salted grilled seabass, asparagus and British lardo, fluffy and light. I loved the butter-poached turbot, seasoned with sea vegetables and wild horseradish. The menu was refreshing twist on classical dishes.
Our Neil’s Yard cheese board was served with light crisp homemade crackers, the light creations were the perfect compliment to accompany my sheep’s and goats ensemble which lasted less than five minutes before we excitedly charged onto our desserts for the evening. We loved their texture rich nutmeg spelt pudding,6which was served with pickled Japanese roses, the ultimate hearty elixir. Our second dessert was liquor – heavy selection of three little after dinner tinctures infused with beetroot, toasted spelt and bay leaves.
I left with a bounce in my step, ‘what a stunning concept and delivery of food philosophy’. If only it wasn’t so far away from me otherwise I would have been a ravenous regular!