When my friend Emmanuelle messaged me to tell me she would be in town this Friday and wanted to meet for dinner, I obviously got excited about the dinner plans. I could have taken her to somewhere I already knew and liked, but I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new.
I scoured the internet and narrowed down my selection to 2 places: Ella canta and Flavour Bastards. Manue thought Flavour bastard was a fun name so it was settled (don’t worry Ella Canta, I’m coming for you soon).
The design of the place looked really cool, with concrete walls incrusted with gold leaves and dim lighting. The atmosphere was relaxed and the staff friendly. Basically, the perfect recipe for a great evening.
I had heard a lot of good things about the food there so I was excited try it out. Everything on the menu did sound really appetising, in small portions to share, so we started planning our order. However, Manue is allergic to garlic, and after asking the waitress what she could have, our dreams of sharing small plates got shattered. She could only have 3 dishes on the menu and that included bread and butter. Surprising but OK, we dealt with it.
After thoughtful deliberation on my end. I went for the Aubergine, the beetroot and the octopus. Manue opted for her 3 available choices bread and butter, the deep fried feta and the beetroot.
I know the whole concept is about food sharing so bringing the dishes to the table as soon as it’s ready is standard but in our case we didn’t have much choice. I thought they would at least make sure we each got one of our dish when the first round arrived, but not really. We received the deep fried feta followed by the bread but none of my choices. According to Manue, the feta was good but, I quote, “it is deep fried cheese so it’s always good”. As for the bread it was also good but the ricotta brought in replacement of the “fat of the land” lacked seasoning.
We then received the beetroot, with rose, bergamot, magnolia mustard, ricotta and pine nuts. It was good and quite fresh and I really liked the combination rose and beetroot.
By then, my friend had finished her dinner and I still had 2 dishes to go.
My favourite from the evening was the miso and mango glazed aubergine with a buckwheat and peanut crumble. I liked the different textures. The melting aubergine and the crunchiness of the crumble worked well together as well as the sweet touch brought by the mango.
My last dish was the octopus, passionfruit, avocado, chipotle, kohlrabi and crunchy corn. I can’t really say I loved this dish or particularly disliked it. It was well cooked but I thought it was a bit messy and hard to read.
We finished our meal with desserts.
As you might know now, dessert is my favourite part of the meal. I had one of the chef’s special: a warm chocolate mousse spiced with ginger and cinnamon. Manue had the ginger-polenta cake, sea buckthorn curd and coriander ice cream
The way food looks is really important to me and it is even more important when it comes to desserts. I want to eat my dessert with my eyes before putting it in my mouth but my dessert was underwhelming. I usually forget to take photos because I’m so eager to eat but this time I almost skipped it because I thought it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t even take the time to take the picture properly. It was served in a tiny plate with just the little cake placed on top. It tasted good but definitely not a dessert I will remember.
The polenta cake was good but the visual didn’t impress either and the coriander ice cream was a bit too weird for me, not being a big fan of coriander in the first place.
All in all, we had a nice evening but it didn’t live up to the hype. The place itself was really cool but the food a bit disappointing.
I also felt bad for taking my friend to a place where she couldn’t eat much. That’s 100% my fault (next time, I promise I’m calling beforehand to make sure there are enough options with no garlic) but I was also surprised they didn’t try to do more than suggest to have bread and butter and order the tiny plate twice.
If you’ve been there let me know! I’m curious to know about your experience!
Flavour Bastards – 63-64 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 3JW For our dinner we paid about 39£ including a glass of wine each