Roganic – London W1U
June 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
A two year pop up combining gastronomy with foraging, applying honed techniques with imagination and flair.
On a wet, wintery evening in late 2012, I hurried along Blandford St, desperate to get out of the freezing air. Stepping into the tiny dining room of this two year “pop-up”, to the warm welcome of the charming maitre d’, I had no idea that what would follow would be such a terrific evening of culinary delights. Having already decided to order the 10-course tasting menu, and thus eaten a suitably small snack for lunch at the nearby La Fromagerie, we both studied the menus, so as to prepare for what was to come. I imagine our server immediately regretted asking if he might be able to explain any of the dishes to us; the menu was dotted with unusual ingredients and we certainly weren’t afraid to ask about each and every one of them. Eventually, after much discussion, our insatiable thirst for knowledge was sated, and the dishes began to arrive. Following, an amuse bouche, homemade bread and a starter of ‘Leek custard’, came the ‘Artichoke dumplings with truffle and Ragstone’ – a beautiful dish of gnocchi like dumplings, delicately decorated with shavings of truffle. The ‘Carrots in coal oil’ that followed was a delectably smoky dish, with a depth of flavour that one can only dream of. Whilst the ‘Purple potato and buttermilk’- the skins of the velvety little spuds fantastically crisped, was a feast for the eyes: the striking purple adding an unexpected vibrancy to the meal.
After countless other courses, we enjoyed a much needed moment’s pause before the arrival of the ‘Turbot, chevril roots, clams and wood blewits’ – a refreshingly light dish, punctuated with the delicate flavours of the wood blewits (wild mushrooms), with a slight hint of aniseed from the chevril root.
The dish of the evening, for me, was the ‘Herdwick hoggett, pickled tongues, carrots and alexanders’ – a tender cut of hoggett (a young sheep) decorated with morsels of pickled tongue; an ingredient which, in truth, demanded a moment’s hesitation, but only a moment’s. The meaty dish filled the room with an aroma of Sunday roast, which lasted long after my plate had been cleared and replaced with the first of several desserts.
The evening came to an abrupt end when my wayward sister’s flight, scheduled to be late, arrived 25 minutes early and she called to ask where in Paddington station we were waiting for her? Of course family always comes first, but a miniature glass of a warm pine infused milkshake and a homemade mince-pie was just too good to abandon outright, so we hesitated just long enough to polish off both, before scampering out the door. Delivering a faultless 10 course menu, with a handful of additional dishes thrown into the mix, is no easy feat. Yet Simon Rogan’s team stand up to the test and deliver it all with style. The meal, really, could not have been better. Sadly, Roganic will be closing on June 20th 2013, but with plans to find a more permanent home in London soon, we can only pray that what comes next will live up to its predecessor.