I only had to be told that Steve Harris (owner of my hallowed Sportsman pub in Kent) had teamed up with the Noble Rot founders (Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew) to create a restaurant in London, to make me throw down the tea I was drinking immediately and start looking at reservation dates for my first visit. A year later and a quick drop in for a great glass of red and the undeniably superb breads (focaccia and soda) at Noble Rot is still one of the nicest things that can be done in the whole of London in my view. This was a very brief visit in comparison to the previous one in 2016 which will have more detail on the menu for here. Suffice to say we left with heads bowed and questioning whether we should cancel the main lunch booked at different venue (Pied a Terre) where myself and my associate Mr Bainbridge had the actual appointment for this day. Although the cold meats were better on our first visit, the £18 each for superb breads, wine and good charcuterie is a no brainer and a delightful option and I am glad we have this in the UK.
Food Review: 75%
The service was very good from the off with a waiter and sommelier in one, who ended up marrying us up with some wonderful glasses of white and red with our small plate dishes (another lunch was being done after this one). But first came the bread. I am not over-egging this when I say the focaccia made here is among the best, if not the best on this blue-green planet of ours. The memory of the salted-herbed crust, the perfect squidgyness and with the fact that a delightful amount of oil is left on the fingers from just picking it up, actually makes me salivate just writing this. I’d be in danger of overdosing on carbs if I had a longer time in here as I could happily munch on this for about an hour with the right, supporting drinks.
The other bread is also worth mentioning as the sour dough is the same as that served at Hedone (widely considered to to be among the best available in that league) and the soda bread has treacle within it giving it have a chocolaty quality. These don’t really need butter but the unfortunate thing is that the butter here is also very good, so that’s any hope of taking things ‘easy’ here, immediately shot.
The starters were all simple and very good at the same time. The lomo (cured loin of ham) was a pleasure with its supporting new potatoes and capers and the iberico bellota paleta (bellota = purely acorn fed, paleta = shoulder of the iberico pig) was extremely good to eat. Better still was placing one of the slices on the focaccia for utter decadence!
Then of course, the signature slip sole was clearly going to be tried, especially as it is served not with seaweed butter as it is at The Sportsman, but with a twist using smoked paprika. In the main I thought that the Noble Rot version slip sole just pipped it to the post for me on flavor as I did quite like the interesting zing that came with this version. That said, I have always loved the way the seaweed butter version is used to ‘paint’ the fish and make it look close to how a slip sole actually is.
There is understandably a superb wine list at this venue with options by the glass you simply will not find in many other places. As we had to stay relatively modest on this occasion that was fine too as the Occhipinti Rosa 2105 and Envinate Taganan Blanco 2014 were both lovely glasses of wine to have and came across very well with their dishes. In general, this is a gem of a place, particularly for wine lovers and those that want to come in for a quick top up of sheer quality at reasonable prices. There is no doubt for me now – this is a down to earth, impressive and lovely venue.