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Copper & Ink – Fine Dining in Blackheath.
“I love a tasting menu” was my friend’s response when I told her we were reviewing Copper & Ink, a new modern British restaurant in south-east London with ‘influences from classic French and Scandinavian cuisine’. Just a couple of steps away from Blackheath overground and right in the middle of Blackheath village you’ll find Copper & Ink, and we had been invited to review their five course tasting menu. Created by former MasterChef UK finalist Chef Patron Tony Rodd and Head Chef Rob Parks it changes every month so dishes are both seasonal and varied. Copper & Ink’s interior has oak tables and floors with slate grey banquettes and tiles. Ivy-bedecked light fittings and quirky artwork on the walls courtesy of local artist Liam Brazier add to the laid-back atmosphere as does the playlist with retro favourites Nina Simone and Sade featuring on the soundtrack to your dinner. Whilst nibbling on an excellent sourdough loaf with a pungent smoked butter we had a look at the menu options. What I love about Copper & Ink is that they cater for all -there are pescatarian and vegetarian tasting menus and plenty of gluten free, dairy free and vegan options available on the seasonal a la carte menu. There is also the option of having wine pairings which we obviously decided to do, starting with a glass of Champagne Lallier which was dry and refreshing with a crisp acidity. First out of the kitchen was a plate of sautéed, pickled and wild mushroom pate with roasted seasonal veg and crostini. It was rich and full of umami flavours with lots of interesting textural elements to enjoy. The matched wine was The Underworld Grenache Blanc, Western Cape from South Africa which was lemony and creamy with the citric element bringing out the mushroom notes. Probably my favourite dish out of the whole meal at Copper & Ink was a plate of delicately poached scallops with a smoked roe velouté, crisp fermented apple and kohlrabi creating a perfectly balanced combination of flavours and mouth feel. A tender breast and a sweet confit leg of quail was served with a piquant pickled quail egg, a savoury celeriac purée, cobnuts and sorrel. It was the perfect autumn dish! The buttery chardonnay flavour of Neilson by Byron, from Santa Barbara County, USA was a great accompaniment. The mains featured a halibut fillet which was perfectly cooked, with a delicate oyster velouté, leeks softened in their smoked butter, girolles and sweet spring onions. The dish showed off the kitchen’s technique and ability to deliver a delicately classical plate of food. The paired glass of Domaine de la Combe Muscadet Tradition, France was full of apple and citrus flavours. The idea of two desserts always makes me happy. Spiced apple fritter with caramelised apple, apple sorbet and almonds again embraced seasonality and was delicious with the cool acidity of the sorbet countering the warm sweetness of the fritter. The accompanying Austrian biodynamic Sepp Moser Schilfwein (straw wine} had rich flavours of roast pineapple and beeswax. An espresso parfait was served with an indulgent dulce de leche ice cream and my favourite chocolate covered coffee beans. We drank a well-structured figgy Krohn Colheita 2007 port which finished me off in the best possible way! Copper & Ink includes a selection of scrumptious petit fours with coffee (macarons and fudge) – which gave us just enough sweetness to go back out into a damp autumnal evening. The restaurant also has a largish basement where the kitchen is situated which can fit larger parties as well as having a Chefs Table. I really hope that Copper & Ink does well. The kitchen shows real ambition and flair combining a seriousness of purpose with a sense of hospitality that is a rare combination on a suburban high street.
Copper & Ink,
5 Lee Road,
London, SE3 9RQ