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A superb tasting menu offers seven steps to heaven
‘’Empyrean’’ is the highest part of heaven, thought by the ancients to be the realm of pure fire and there’s no better word to describe London Stock, a new restaurant in Wandsworth’s Ram Quarter. The cooking is heavenly and its young chefs are on fire, lighting up their fine dining dishes with creative twists inspired by the cuisines of Japan and Korea. Only open a few weeks, it’s slowly building up its reputation and already getting rave reviews from enthusiastic diners.
Wandsworth town, once an area which had been and gone, is up and coming again with the completion of The Ram Quarter, a new residential and retail project on the site of the old Young’s brewery which closed in 2006. London Stock is right at the heart of it, in an airy, pared-back bare brick and iron columned space, reminders of its brewery past (brewing has been taking place at the site since at least 1533) and with the delightful address of 2 Bubbling Well Square.
The team of chums behind London Stock, Assem Abdel Hady and Andres Bernal with Head Chef Jose Fernandes and Pastry Chef Nico Fitzgerald have a strong pedigree, including experience at two Michelin-starred restaurants Umu and Dinner by Heston and one-starred restaurants Nobu, Pollen Street, and Hind’s Head.
Their talent and skill really show through in their wonderfully tasting and wonderfully priced (£45) seven-course tasting menu which are seven steps to foodie heaven.
To begin you’re welcomed with an early indication of the East Asian vibe which inspires the team’s cooking style: a small cup of a pleasantly aromatic White tea, of the most delicate varieties. Then some great homemade bread with a little seaweed butter before downing a mouthful of warm calçot onion.
The first course is Octopus, a small chunk cooked for eight hours sous vide for tenderness and flavour. It’s served with a disc of potato fondant and celeriac purée together with a little heap of pickled seaweed and toasted barley. Absolutely delicious.
Next up is Quail, a piece of breast cooked on London Stock’s own Japanese Robata grill and a leg cooked in a delicately savoury jus prepared from quail bones. It’s accompanied by some onion purée and cured beetroot. Wonderful. As an intermezzo comes Cauliflower, roasted in butter, a strong flavour softened by a spoonful of beetroot purée and some garlic crisps. Surprisingly good.
The Wild seabass is cooked on the Robata grill to a wonderful softness with the skin crispy and tasty. Alongside is served a slice of broccoli, broccoli puréé, with some crunch from shreds of pickled turnip and radicchio tardive. More crispness, and a Korean kick, comes from a dried shiso leaf. Superb. From surf to turf with a Brownie-sized piece of melting, succulent Beef Short Rib, cooked sous vide for two whole days, in an intense jus just packed with beefy essence. It sits next to some sweet winter ratatouille and crunchy baby turnip. Fantastic.
The refreshing and inventive palate cleanser Yuza comprises honey-roasted Delica squash, earthy and reminiscent of cooked chestnuts, with hazelnuts and a deliciously citrusy yuzu ice and shiso leaf. Another hit.
Step seven on the menu, last but not least, is a clever nod to the area’s brewery past. A malt and miso soufflé is served with a spoonful of ice cream flavoured with Imperial stout from the Sambrook brewery (currently based in Battersea but soon to move into The Ram Quarter this spring). It’s a very grown-up pud – a hit of umami from the miso is softened by the ice cream – and described by one appreciative diner as a combination of Marmite and Horlicks… Delicious. The tasting menus (a seven-course vegetarian menu is also on offer (£45)) are served every weekday and Saturday evening; there’s no à la carte. Monday to Saturdays, a lunchtime fixed price menu (£25) offers a choice of three starters, mains and desserts. Sunday sees a range of roasts (£24 each or £35 for Beef Wellington) with all the expected trimmings. Sunday starters are £7 and desserts £5.
The wine list is comprehensive and while it has many classics, there’s also a refreshing sense of adventure in a number of the bottles on offer. Prices range from an affordable £28 to three digits (before the decimal point…). Wines by the glass are well-priced and excellent quality, as are the cocktails. The team are not trying to run before they can walk but ultimately they plan to open for breakfast and offer a private dining space and Chef’s table. London Stock aims to bring a top-notch, fine dining menu to Wandsworth at a good price and in an informal setting, and so far it is succeeding brilliantly.
Lunch – Monday to Saturday 12.00pm to 2.30pm Sunday 12.00pm to 5.00pm
Dinner – Monday to Saturday 6.00pm to 9.30pm (last orders)
2 Bubbling Well Square
London SW18 1UQ
Tel: 020 8075 3877
Looking for alternatives in the area? We loved Bellillo in Fulham – an Italian restaurant with great classic Italian dishes including pizza from their own woodfired pizza oven. Or for fine dining in South East London, try Copper & Ink, run by Masterchef finalist Tony Rodd