438 King’s Road,
London, SW10 OLJ
Tel. 020 7349 1900
Food type: Modern French
Nearest tube: Sloane Square/ Fulham Broadway (a bit of a walk from both)
For my birthday dinner, I decided to go back to the old faithful Medlar. This would be my 12th meal (I probably only write about 1/3rd of the meals I eat out) here this year and I could not think of a better way than to spend an evening eating unpretentious food with some nice wine. A few weeks beforehand, I had asked David if he would be the kitchen would be kind enough to cook me a roast chicken dinner. But not any roast chicken dinner of course. A poulet de bresse dinner which would require a bit of pre-ordering and planning. When he answered in the affirmative, I was palpably excited. I would be joined by the ‘Pies’ for this dinner.
With the main course sorted, all we had to do was pick our starters. Having had a pretty substantial lunch earlier in the day, I went for the not-so-light option of burrata with caponata.
“What is burrata?” I heard the senior gentleman on the next table ask his wife.
“Oh it is salted cod roe” his wife very quickly and confidently replied.
“Well that doesn’t sound nice does it” the man replied. He proceeded to order the crab raviolo later.
If only he knew what he was missing out on. A generous chunk of creamy, milky burrata to contrast the sunshine flavours of the caponata. A little drizzle of vincotto to provide a sweet and sour hit and pesto of the rocket variety for a bitter contrast. For texture, a thin wafer of crostini and a few bitter chicory leaves. Tasty but perhaps a bit too large a portion. Can’t blame them for their generosity though.
Next would be the main event we were all looking forward to – the poulet de bresse. I had also requested a shaving of white alba truffle. It is after all my birthday, and you have to spoil yourself sometimes. This dish is all about the quality of the chicken which was undoubtedly fantastic given its provenance. As much as British poultry farming has been improving in recent years, it still lags behind their French counterpart. The breast was classically roasted with a few herbs, crispy skin and moist flesh. It is amazing that after eating so much bad chicken, how wonderful it is to eat chicken which tastes like what it is meant to taste. The chicken had been roasted in its own fat to produce a crispy skin without drying out, which speaks of the quality of the chicken and the skill of the chef. On the side, a lollipop of the chicken thigh, paired with a creamy celeriac puree. I was very pleased to see the whole bird being used. The liver was given a quick saute and kept nice and pink and the boys were presented with the braised cocks comb. The rest of the offal was added to a sage and onion stuffing. All this was finished with a nice sticky chicken jus made with the off cuts.
After a very generous helping of cheese, including the seasonal Mont D’or, I concluded our meal with their signature tarte tatin with creme fraiche ice cream. The menu advertises this as one to share between 2 people but I reckon you could feed 4 with that portion. They use Braeburn apples here, large quantities of it, cooked in a rich mahagony caramel which is taken as far as it can possibly go without any bitterness. The creme fraiche ice cream is well made – lovely shine and silkiness that goes with it. David brought a little extra parkin with a candle which was probably a bad idea given the amount of food we had already consumed. But I ate it anyways. The poached quince and stem ginger ice cream were superb and honestly, I would have been happy with just these two elements.
So another year older, and another excellent meal at Medlar. My friends dining with us, who have now eaten a few times at Medlar asked the question everyone is wondering ‘Why does Medlar not have a Michelin star?’ To be honest, you have to ask Michelin that question because there are plenty of other restaurants with a star which serves food less tasty than they do at Medlar.