Sunday, 14 October 2012
Outlaws Seafood and Grill at The Capital
There are only twenty chefs in the whole of the UK who have achieved the dizzying high of Two Michelin star status. One of those chefs is much lauded Nathan Outlaw, who's eponymous restaurant at The St Edonoc Hotel in Rock, Cornwall is the focus of attention for foodies near and far. Personally as yet, I have not made the five hour pilgrimage but no worries, one day.
He has now though brought his style of cooking to Central London.
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall is fine dining but there is also a Seafood and Grill in a separate location serving somewhat simpler fare. This is what is currently on offer at The Capital. Chef Pete Biggs has made the step up from Cornwall. He has worked with Nathan for ten years. Outlaw himself was in the kitchen during the opening weekdays and methinks apart from weekends he will spend his time here until he deems it to be perfect.
Over the years The five star Capital Hotel has had some great chefs in residence. Philip Britten held Michelin stars here for years, as did Eric Chavot. I have been fortunate to eat both chefs food at this very location. I do need to stress again though that this venture is not fine dining it is of a simpler nature.
In mentioning Chavot, a very fine chef indeed. Outlaw worked with him at one stage during his career.
The dining room itself is not formal. No starched white table clothes, just simple wooden tables, comfy chairs, bench seating, turquoise walls with a small glass window looking into the kitchen. The service however is formal but in a friendly relaxing sort of way.
The menu is short but sweet listing nearly all seafood dishes. This is the area in which Nathan Outlaw specialises in. Normally all the fish served in his restaurants are from the Cornish coastline. However this London based venture will feature produce from different parts of the bountiful UK coast.
We got off to a good start with an appetiser of crispy Cod fishcakes with a herb mayonnaise.
The bread was particularly nice, especially the cheese topped Cornish flat bread in the style of a focaccia with Cornish sea salt and rapeseed oil. The other was a Doom Bar beer bread. Both were impressive.
Roasted Scallops ( £12 ) looked pretty as a picture. The central crunchy coated Porthilly Oyster added bite and liquid comfort. Cubed cucumber refreshed, and the oyster sauce smacked of the seaside.
Amazingly fresh Pickled Herring ( £8 ) was well worth the entry fee on its own. It glistened in the sunlight. I half expected it to wriggle as I cut into it. Good bite too from the red and yellow peppers. To the side is a blob of smoked paprika mayonnaise
Across the table arrived an impressive looking Wild Sea Bass Fillet (£23 ) swimming in a pool of saffron infused mussel and cucumber sauce.
Perfectly cooked outside and in. Good mouth feel from the crisped skin and edges, what's not to like?
My main course was actually Nathan's Great British Menu dish as featured on TV. It has been a regular on his menus since that time. I have been fortunate to eat a few GBM dishes this year including Aiden Byrne's and Daniel Clifford's stunning winning chicken dish.
From memory ( which is poor ) I seem to think the other chefs had mixed feelings about it. I did enjoy it but it did not knock my socks off. Perhaps my expectation level was to high. Having said that, it is a dish that I would eat again, and who knows I may just change my opinion about it.
The side dishes are well worth trying. They are all the same price and judging by the ones that we tried good quality.
Potato and Anchovy Gratin ( £3 ) was more than decent.
The Crispy Courgettes ( £3 ) are a must try. Squidgy innards and well seasoned crunchy outer.
Desserts, although tempting were a step too far so we shared a perfectly enjoyable Chocolate Mousse, Pear , Caramel Ice Cream. ( £6 ) We liked the honeycomb element.
As is usually the case we skipped coffee but were comped these little beauties. There were four but my wife devoured one before I had chance to take the photo.
So that's about it really a pretty decent meal. Whatever you do though don't go expecting intricate involved cutting edge technique. This is just simple high calibre food in a five star location.
The quality of produce shines through, and with seafood especially that is of paramount importance.
Pricing is as you may expect given its location only metres away from Harrods, but if you work on about £50 pp, ( inc service charge) for food you won't go far wrong. If you live or work local the set lunch is great value for three courses at £25. A number of dishes off the carte cross over to this menu as well.
Go. Give it a try . It will cost you more to make the journey to Cornwall.
Head chef Pete Biggs.
Outlaws Seafood and Grill at The Capital Hotel.
22-24 Basil Street.