The Young British Foodie awards recognise new and pioneering names in the UK’s food industry, championing chefs, food writers and suppliers. They’ve only been going a couple of years, but for every set of winners the Tate Modern hosts a guest menu to showcase Britain’s best recipes and ingredients.
This year’s offering, which is running every Friday and Saturday night until 6th December, features dishes from YBF’s chef of the year Tomos Parry, and others created by the Tate’s own chefs based around ingredients from winning suppliers. It’s an all-round rather nice idea, and comes in at £47.50 per head for a three course meal, which also includes slabs of fresh bread from from the E5 Bakehouse, tea or coffee and an aperitif from Stellacello, who make a tangy grapefruit liqueur. (Add an additional £14pp for paired wines chosen by the Tate’s head sommelier Hamish Anderson.)
It’s a strange venue. You enter in the usual way, as though going to the gallery, and the traditional hush of such cultural centers is magnified tenfold by the building’s cavernous space. Once you reach the top floor, though, you find a buzzing oasis sat atop the vacuum of the hangar below. The view is – as expected – fantastic. Nowhere near as high as the skyscrapers I’ve visited – the Heron Tower, the Shard, the Cheese Grater, Tower 42 – but much more central, so you see much more. My crappy photo through the glass doesn’t do it justice, but it is definitely worth requesting a window seat when you make your reservation.
On to the food then, which was smartly administered by smiling wait staff – you know, the kind that aren’t too pretentious or absent or bothersome. To start I chose the warm salad with Scotch quail eggs and duck from the Artisan Smokehouse in Suffolk. I always love duck simply because I can NOT cook it properly at home, but the little quail egglets were my favourite part.
My dining companion, Becky, opted for the cured meats from South London tapas restaurant, Bar Tozino.
I have a gruesome phobia of mushrooms of all kinds, but unluckily for me the Tate is dead keen on using seasonal produce, so they were positively sprouting out from all over the menu. (It’s not the taste, it’s their gruesome appearance. They’re how I imagine tumours to look; like great cankers of warped meat mushrooming in lungs and brains and livers.) In the spirit of not being a great big nancy, however, I not only enjoyed the Scottish girolles that came with my enormous, fabulous fillet of beef, but also tried (and loved) Becky’s mushroom risotto.
My monstrously-proportioned beef fillet was perfectly cooked, and came swimming in an apple cider gravy from the Ethicurean restaurant in Bristol. I’m a real fiend for food lubricants of almost any kind, and this was something really special. They should bottle the stuff (although if they did I could totally imagine crashing through the door at 3am and downing it from the bottle in a drunken fit of gluttony. Don’t judge, it’s become a real problem.) The potato fondant was not quite as buttery as it could have been, but considering the size of the portions, it’s probably just as well.
Becky, in a retrospectively disastrous attempt to choose the healthy option, went for the vegetarian mushroom risotto, smothered in great slivers of Artisan Smokehouse maple smoked parmesan cheese and served with crunchy rye bread.
By this point we were both threatening to explode all over the restaurant’s minimalist decor, but we had to have pudding in order to try man-of-the-hour Tomas Parry’s poached pear with lemon and black pepper shortbread. Cooked fruit isn’t usually my thing, but I actually preferred it to the toasted cornmeal cake served with peach curd and brown butter pecan crunch, which is more my cup of tea.
The best thing about the restaurant – apart from the service, Anderson’s perfectly paired wines, well-sourced ingredients and the chance to support some of Britain’s best emerging names in food – is the walk back across Millennium Bridge. (If you live South of the river, it is worth taking a detour.)
Seeing as we were already out and it wasn’t too cold, we took the 20 minute walk to the Tower of London to see the poppies, which are getting taken down after Armistice Day tomorrow. The crowds during the daytime have been by all accounts completely mental, so if you can, go down really early or really late today or tomorrow to catch them before they go forever.
We visited the Tate Modern’s Sixth Floor Restaurant on the invitation of YBFs, but – as always – opinions are my own. The three course menu with a cocktail, bread and coffee costs £47.50, plus an optional £14pp for paired wines. Make sure you ask for a window seat! You can find the menu online here, and the Tate Modern itself can be found in the huge ex-power station opposite Millennium Bridge. You can’t miss it, it’s the South Bank’s ugliest building. 🙂 Its official address is Bankside, SE1 9TG.
Featured image source.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.