Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Tredwell's, London

I've been spurred into writing this blog today. As you can see from the timings of my posts, I'm not always the most frequent blogger. But today I felt the need to write this one in particular. Today, a number of top chefs decided to publicly criticise the new allergen regulations which require restaurants to make information available on 14 allergens. Their criticism of the EU regulations were made public in a letter to the Telegraph (where better to slate alleged EU bureaucracy than British right-wing media). Interestingly, when you search 'allergen' in the Telegraph search bar, the first item that pops up is an advert for home allergen testing kits! The article in question quotes Thomasina Miers, whom I'm a big fan of, as saying: "It is a total fiasco and in my view is the responsibility of the allergee to ask." Unfortunately, I think she sadly misses the point. We do ask. Since I was diagnosed coeliac nearly 5 years ago I've asked every time I've eaten out. It's a pain, but I'm used to it. What the new rules mean is at last restaurants should have the answers. 

One restaurant which certainly had the answers was Marcus Wareing's new restaurant Tredwell's. It's menu I'm holding up as the exemplar on how to make allergen info clear and simple to understand. When it's backed up with food which is excellent too, it's a dream come true for 'burdensome' allergy sufferers. If restaurants can get it right like Tredwell's does, they are more likely to get my custom and that of other allergen suffers. They are widening their market, it hardly screams fiasco to me.

Down the apples and pears cocktail
Tredwell's is a more casual addition to Wareing's restaurants and boasts a more relaxed and informal atmosphere. The place was bustling when we arrived on a Saturday night. We took seats at the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. The cocktail was seriously good, my 'Down the apples and pears' had Belvedere vodka, with apple, pear and elderflower, finished with a hint of thyme which perfectly balanced the sweetness. Our server knew the menu well and recommended that we share a couple of the starters. There was plenty of choice for those with a gluten allergy and there seemed to be a concious effort to avoid the use of unnecessary allergens. My wife and I shared sticky chicken wings and a chicken satay dish. Both sound simple, but were brilliantly executed. A moreish BBQ glaze on the chicken wings made them some of the best I've ever tasted. The satay was silky smooth with almost a mousse-like texture, and served with tender poached chicken and a chilled cucumber relish.

The starters were always going to be warm up acts when the headline act comes under the banner 'Braised beef short rib'. A huge hunk of meat, that was braised so the meat melted away from the bone, served with perfectly balanced gravy. Sweet potato fries were crisp and came with a knock out BBQ mayo. The 'on trend' addition of kale to the slaw worked really well too. 
Braised Beef Short Rib
Sweet Potato Fries, BBQ Mayo and Kale Slaw
We somehow found room for desserts and I couldn't resist the allure of salted caramel soft serve, which really was just a Marcus Wareing McFlurry! It was everything a dessert should be. Unfortunately, the 'virtuous' chocolate brownie was everything a dessert shouldn't be. Desserts weren't meant to be virtuous and sadly this meant that the brownie was the one let down of an otherwise impeccable meal.
Salted Caramel Soft Serve with Honeycomb
I think the food, drink, service, and consideration for all their diners means Tredwell's is on to a winning formula. The requirement is simple, for restaurants to know the food they are serving. More restaurants embracing this philosophy can only be a good thing.

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