The spontaneity in my relationship with food is all but gone; a fate which hardly surprises me given I spend most of my waking hours thinking about what or where to eat. I’ve always been a fastidious meal planner with the magnetic menu and shopping list pad to prove it, but the London restaurant culture has also turned me into a fastidious planner of our meals out.
I used to balk at the thought of making a restaurant booking anything more than a few days ahead, or even at all, but if there’s one thing London has taught me, it’s to be prepared to plan or queue, or risk a wasted meal. I’m still not the most organised but we generally know where we’re headed before we leave the house, so on the rare occasions we don’t… I’m a bit of a deer in the headlights!
On this particular evening, I did have a semblance of a plan – light bite to eat at Padella then a short walk across the river to friends’ engagement drinks. In hindsight, this was a horrible plan because did I really think we could walk straight into one of London’s currently most talked about restaurants without waiting? Cue the facepalm. Of course not, not even at 6pm sharp. Instagram-obsessed pasta lovers are always out in force, at all hours of the day it seems.
So we went to plan B which was also packed… then onto Plan C which was anything else in the area. But, I hear you proclaim, Borough Market is full of dining options… it’s one of London’s best foodie destinations… the restaurants are great… blah blah blah. I hear you, I really do, but this deer in the headlights was too hungry and in too much of a hurry to be thinking logically like that. We zigzagged all over the show and speedily assessed the menus before settling on Elliot’s; their concise menu won us over at first sight. Seasonal ingredients, passionately produced, knowledgeably sourced… ticks all the right boxes.
The beauty of a short list of appealing dishes is that it doesn’t take long to order. If a light dinner hadn’t been on the cards, we might have actually ordered most of the menu, but we’ll have to save that for the next visit. This time round, we started with the salt cod croquettas, I like the identifiable chunks of salt cod but can’t help thinking it might have been improved with a condiment; spoken like a true sauce-fanatic.
No such complaints about the chicken hearts and lardo though. We love offal, lardo, and sauce, and this was the perfect combination of all three. I know a lot of people would get squeamish at the thought of eating hearts but I promise you, they’re not scary. Hearts are just like any other meat, but probably leaner, meaner, and fuller in flavour. These also had the added benefit of being bathed in the most addictive salty and slight sweet sauce, it was so good we ordered bread just to mop it all up.
We then moved onto something lighter, a refreshingly crisp and delicate crab and fennel salad before another dish of offal, the lamb sweetbreads with broad beans, onions and garlic, with a side of fried Maris Pipers. These sweetbreads were firmer in texture than we’re used to but no less delectable and well matched with sweet onions and pea shoots. The large wedges of crunchy outer, fluffy inner potatoes were also a great choice, but let’s be honest… in what planet would they not be?
This light dinner turned out to be pleasantly satisfying, every dish was a delight. I would have liked them to come out a teeny bit faster but a certain someone wasn’t bothered so that might just be my impatience being petty. Between bites, I was asked numerous times why we hadn’t been to Elliot’s before, and why I hadn’t even heard of it. Hmm.
Yes, that was a certain someone being a little facetious and winding me up, but seriously, why hadn’t we been there before and why hadn’t I heard of it? I’m sure many of you know of Elliot’s, have eaten there before and hopefully, are now nodding along in agreement with my praise… but if you haven’t been, take my word for it and pop in soon!
Are you also a fastidious planner of all your meals, either when dining in or out? Have you been to Elliot’s?