Review of 'Tredwells'

At Taste of London at Christmas (2016) we met one of my favourite television chefs Marcus Wareing whose serious and no-nonsense approach to food using top quality ingredients is inspirational. He was at the festival serving samples from his “Tredwells” restaurant in the west end so when my birthday came up this year I thought it would be good to pay it a visit and with a “3 courses for £29” deal (including a dessert cocktail) it made the choice that much easier.

Tredwells is close to the Leicester Square tube station, just around the corner from The Ivy on the former site of the perhaps easily forgettable Kyashii Restaurant. There is a small outdoor seating area but on the cold night of our visit we sat inside (seated literally underneath this glass-floored terrace). The cool, dark interior is modernly minimalist yet quite welcoming with easy going, professional staff. On arrival you would be forgiven in thinking the restaurant is tiny but there is large basement and first floor seating area as well.

The ground floor is dominated by a bar serving a modest selection of beverages with a friendly bartender (hi Nick!). We sat here for a few drinks before being shown to our table. My companion had a “Tredwells Sling” (£11.50) with a slight modification made by the considerate bartender to make it a bit sweeter for her with the addition of some (Ableforth's) Cherry Brandy. She found this very tasty and perfectly balanced - her first try of Cherry Brandy! My (virgin) “Pineapple Mojito” (£6) was very nice indeed without the overpowering sweetness you often get with Pineapple-based drinks. We were given a small portion of tasty, very buttery, and spicy popcorn (well, two portions as they disappeared very quickly…).

A short while later we were shown to our table in the far corner of the basement. Our large, comfortable table was close to the kitchen which, though not entirely open to the seating area, we could clearly see was a hive of activity. An elevated section on the opposite side of the room was another small bar. A few large groups came and went while we were dining with the room, full of harsh surfaces, very noisy when busy.

The wine menu has a reasonably good, if not extremely exhaustive, selection. My companion, a fan of rosé, chose “La Vie En Rosé, Pays D’Oc, France” (£6 a glass) which she found very good and only, thankfully, slightly acidic. Throughout the meal I stuck with the sparkling bottled water (£3.75).

Before having a look at the menu we were offered “Potato and rosemary bread, salted Abbey Farm whey butter” (£4) which was absolutely delicious, if slightly too salty for me, and brought to the table still warm.

An order of olives were served on the top of some ice in glass jar – Not a huge portion the olives were not overly salty though still had their pits.

We concentrated on the set menu where we ordered from which had quite a good selection with each dish having a recommended wine paring. My companion chose to start with the “Crispy beef chuck, coconut & turmeric sauce” and I selected the “Warm salt cod, sourdough, caper & parsley”. My cod was very mild and very creamy. My companion thought it slightly fishy but I did not get that with the small delicate pieces of cod perfectly cooked and smothered in the sauce. Not a flavour explosion but a nice, light starter.

My companion's beef was quite a flavour sensation with the beef served in crunchy ball with a delicious, spicy, sauce. Perhaps it was a bit too big but I was able to help her out here…

After some debate, for our mains I opted to try the “Pork neck, celeriac, ham hock, barley” while my companion the “Pollock, pumpkin, Parmesan & black olive, cavolo nero”.

The large portion of pork was very juicy with a slightly crunchy fat layer sitting on top of a bed of the barley and celeriac with a light jus. Quite tasty indeed.

The large portion of pollock was perched on top of a small bed of the cavolo nero with several different, very flavourable, sauces. The fish was delicate and fell apart in large flakes. Light and very delicious.

We went to town and ordered three side dishes: “Triple cooked chips, hollandaise mousse” (£5.50) - A small portion, quite crunchy but for me perhaps overcooked with the interior getting towards being grainy rather than creamy in texture…

…“Grilled broccoli, toasted almond butter, capers” (£5) - Probably my highlight of the meal, a full HALF of a head of perfectly cooked broccoli (“al dente” if you will) smothered in a wonderfully nutty, almost peanut-buttery, sauce with a sprinkling of almonds (delicious), and “Truffled macaroni cheese” (£5.50) - Too “truffley” for my companion I found this small portion wonderfully mushroomy and delicious with not an overwhelming amount/flavour of cheese, perfectly grilled in the oven. The sides pretty much stole the show from the mains and I would have been almost as happy with just them…almost.

For dessert I chose the “Warm banana cake, miso & muscovado and sunflower praline” which was quite pleasant and thankfully not overspiced. The muscovado was amazing but I did not really pick up on the flavour of the miso even with the large splodge of it on the plate. The sunflower praline was delicious, adding the right amount of crunchy and slightly sweet texture to the otherwise bland dish. My companion's “Bergamot panna cotta, Italian meringue, Early Grey shortbread” was very pretty served in a small cup with the perfectly piped meringue a small dome on top, lightly browned. It was quite good but even while she ate it my companion looked enviously at my cake…

Dessert

I was quite pleased when the waiter for our dessert cocktails brought me a “Elderflower & Celery Fizz” remembering without prompting that I did not drink alcohol. Throughout the meal the waiter was pleasant with a slight accent making him sometimes difficult to understand (and causing on one occasion a bit of confusion over the order). As with all good waiting staff he was there when we needed him and not there when he wasn't.

Hearing from my companion that it was my birthday he presented another highlight of our meal: A plate with “Happy Birthday” written on it, and, more importantly, two gorgeous salted caramel truffles having an unimaginably liquid centre. Absolutely incredible.

All in all, a very pleasant experience though, perhaps, not with the most striking of flavours from our dishes. Some of the highlights of the meal were in our simple but delicious side orders. At £127 (including a 11% service charge added to the bill and a £1 optional charity donation) it was a bit pricey but everything was very good quality throughout and the staff very good indeed. It was difficult to hear anything when it was busy in the basement but otherwise the atmosphere was pleasant and convivial. Certainly I would be easily tempted to return to try some other menu options…

Rating:

Review Date: 2017-10-26


Cuisine: American/British

Address: 4A Upper St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NY ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Leicester Square, TUBE Covent Garden

Location: London (England) - Covent Garden

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Telephone: +44 (0) 203 764 0840

URL: https://www.tredwells.com/