Fredericks

There are always positives and negatives in eating at friends’ restaurants, and usually the positives and negatives go hand in hand: one is expected to give completely honest and utterly critical feedback, one gets fed beyond belief…..it’s a hard life, believe me! At the end of the day though, what it comes down to is just being honest – regardless of whether or not a friend has cooked for you, they expect your honest opinion, and naturally, you want to give it to them. It’s a small price to pay for being fed lots of good food, don’t you think? And normally, it’s food revenge – I’ve fed MS so heavily every time he came ate at my restaurant, it was natural that I was going to get the full monty!

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The  last time I tried going to Fredericks, the riots broke out and I ended up at the Gilbert Scott, which wasn’t bad going, but it still meant that I had to put off Fredericks for another day. This time round, the sun was shining and London was peacefully soaking up all the rays. After placing our order, the gastronomic onslaught began.

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First up was a chicken liver parfait, brioche, spiced plum chutney. More of a mousse than a parfait – incredibly light and at first I thought a little under seasoned, but with the chutney and the brioche it was happiness ever after, and the delicious chutney, spiced with star anise was a winner. I’m not a big fan of really light brioche with parfaits, preferring a more rustic toast but that’s a personal preference, not a culinary downfall. Next to arrive were smoked haddock and cheese on toast and red onion marmalade with sabayaon on toast and gazpacho.  Three little treasures. Sweet, sour, smoky, crispy.

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Now we got our starters of which we only ordered 2 to share between the 4 of us, a move that turned out to be the wisest of the day. Crispy duck sweet chilli, raw vegetables did everything it sounded like it should, and everything it was meant to. Just a little too much duck for a starter. Aubergine caviar, padron peppers, hummus had all the makings of a perfect vegetarian main course even as a wee starter. The caviar was actually Imam Bayildi – one of my favourite and best preparations of aubergine and this was superb and with everything else on the plate was a winner for vegetarians, vegans, and even non-vegetarians alike.

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Black cod with miso, sweet potato mash, courgette tempura is a dish you can’t really go wrong with. Black cod with miso is most associated with Nobu, but we all know that a sweet miso marinade will win the hearts, souls and desires of any meat, fish or vegetable, and from there on, eating it is nothing short of sinful pleasure. The best part of this dish are the tiny dots of extremely potent wasabi place around the plate which only surface when you’re searching for the one thing that would make this dish perfect, and then you get that searing thrust of pleasure…

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Being rather full, we ordered just one dessert between us and good thinking too, as a pre-dessert of strawberries and strawberry sorbet with cream and chocolate truffle showed up on the table and immediately got wolfed down before the dessert of yoghurt and pistachio cake with pomegrante took centre stage. What can I say…the yoghurt cake is special…it’s light, it’s tangy and springy and creamy with little ruby pomegrantes and emerald pistachios dancing with it. The only thing I didn’t like about the dessert was the overly sweet and really thick vanilla custard that overpowered the cake.

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Whilst Islington may be a culinary hot bed with numerous eateries and even more cuisines lining Upper Street, it’s not the lack of other fine dining places that make Fredericks so popular – the food, the service, the ambience, the dining hall…..the list goes on. Fredericks is a charmer on all accounts and therein lies happiness regardless of one’s relationship with the chef.

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Overall experience: 9
Food: 8
Recommend you go: 8
Wine: 7.5
Website
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