Accredited as a foodie by my friends, I’m often asked for restaurant recommendations and I like to have some hidden gems up my sleeve. I may have just found my latest hidden gem.
Antidote is located just off Carnaby Street. Officially advertised as a wine bar, they do also have a serious chef in a serious kitchen. When I saw that Mikael Jonsson, the chef of my restaurant of 2015, Hedone, was involved at Antidote in an advisory role, I was sold.
I made an initial foray on my own for lunch and was immediately impressed by the clean flavours and combinations of the dishes. You can tell confident chefs by the fact that they don’t over-complicate the dish but have faith in the ingredients and they are top class at Antidote, a trait they share with Hedone. On that visit, I had amazing tuna belly sashimi, mutton and persimmon.
So, I went back with a bigger gang – Emma and some foodie friends visiting from San Francisco and London. There were 5 of us and 10 dishes in the savoury section of the a la menu (4 course tasting menu also available). So, there’s only one foodie thing to do. Order the whole menu! After our waiter took a moment to compose himself when we told him, he quickly sorted out how to group the dishes and the the order in which to serve them.
The whole menu is made up of small plates. To be honest, I’ve been rather disillusioned by the small plates scene in London. Places like Stone’s Throw in San Francisco are amazing but I’ve found portion sizes in London rather mean and the size of the final bill sometimes eyebrow-raising. Antidote has restored my faith in London small plates.
Each dish only has a few ingredients but the menu is littered with interesting ingredients and combinations. I found every dish fascinating in some way and it was a fantastic eating experience to eat our way through so many dishes.
So, in no particular order, here come the dishes. First up, brassicas, organic potato and cured pork fat. A most interesting mix of textures from the vegetables enhanced by the melted pork fat. We liked this dish so much that we did the only foodie thing possible – we ordered another portion!
The most controversial dish was the cured monkfish liver, preserved yuzu, enoki served in an onion and ginger broth. I personally liked it though others didn’t like the liver texture.
The final bill came to an unbelievable £37 per head, which was amazing value for that much food. We left happy and full foodies. Thus is the definition of a hidden gem.
Food: ★★★★★ Service: ★★★★★ Ambiance: ★★★★☆ VFM: ★★★★★ Overall: ★★★★★
Price: We paid £37 a head for a lot of food
12A Newburgh Street, Soho, London W1F 7RR