Every now and then a particular dish pings ferociously into the stormy eye of the capital’s culinary zeitgeist. In 2014, it was *those* crab donuts at Chiltern Firehouse flooding instagram and Twitter feeds, knocking out any news of the Ebola crisis or Lindsay Lohan’s exploits.
Earlier this year *that* green matcha soft serve French toast from Shackafu ensured social media feeds were mint tinged. The pretty 1970s willow patterned plate holding this unexpectedly delicious dessert, had a resurgence in popularity and hipsters across the city wiped out meagre supplies held in charity shops.
My prediction for the next super model with high calorific content will be from the kitchens of Portland; newest collaboration from Will Lander (Quality Chop House) and Daniel Morgenthau (of 10 Greek St fame). World meet the potato millefuelle.
The potato millefuelle is a remarkable hybrid of dauphenoise potatoes and deep fried chippies. Fine layers of potato leaves are stacked, cooked, cut into brick-like chunks and then fried such that they are still soft and floppy in the middle but crisp and crunchy on the outer layer. The result is insanely delicious, moreish, gorgeous.
It’s one of the best things - though clearly not the only good thing - on the menu at Portland. Specialising in seasonal British fare in slightly unusual combinations, Portland has quickly become the darling of the area’s foodie fans. It’s a great addition to Great Portland Street.
Not everything works equally well in my mind. At a recent blogger event I thoroughly enjoyed the pickled mushroom but the suckling pig was a smidge dry for my liking. The vegetable bowl with truffled sauce was an absolute knock-out but the pigs trotter pate didn’t work as well for me. On a return lunch visit the lamb was beautifully tender and succulent, but I found the sea bass cerviche a little too chunky and unrefined compared to what’s so readily available in London right now. On this occasion the seasoning was a little off-balance - which is so important in such a simple dish. The courgette flowers were nicely done in a light tempura batter but could have benefitted from a stuffing of some sort or a drizzle of something punchy to lift them.
There are some lovely touches like the complimentary bottles of sparkling or still water served in bottles with ‘nametags’ on them and the complimentary housemade blackberry jelly is unexpected and certainly sweetens the bill.
The service is charming and attentive and the wine list varied and interesting. Portland is a terrific addition to what has been a bit of a gastronomic desert in this part of town. Not everything works, but overall it’s a winner. I guarantee the potato millefuelle will stay with you - in memory or in social media - for a very long time.
Worth knowing: My first visit to Portland was as an invited guest of Square Meal to a wine tasting event. You can read all about that wee escape over here. Lunch was me taking J out for being nice and paid for by me.
113 Great Portland Street
113 Great Portland Street
London W1W 6QQ