The Malt House, Fulham – More Gastro on my Doorstep:
Fulham is an area of London in transition. With the Earls Court Redevelopment about to start, residents are facing five years or so of major redevelopment. And, many of the pubs and restaurants in the area seem to be reinventing themselves every few months in some desperate effort to keep abreast of change.
The recent refurbishment of the Malt House into gastro-pub and rooms, by Michelin star chef Claude Bosi is one of a whole series in the area. And the jury is out as to whether this one will sink or swim. For a start, we do have a number of excellent places to eat already – not least the Harwood Arms less than 500 yards away. Although private housing is expensive, this is a very mixed area and not all Fulham residents welcome another gastro-pub. The influx of Chelsea supporters for matches during the season is both a curse and a blessing for shops and restaurants who have to deal with thousands of supporters flooding the area for just a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.
I’ve peered through the windows of the Malt House throughout its refurbishment and been waiting for a chance to try the food. While I haven’t made it to Hibiscus yet, I’ve met Claude Bosi, seen him cook and tried his food at a couple of events and I am a big fan. So, I was secretly rather pleased to find that he would be taking over the Malt House on my doorstep.
The menu at the Malt House is short and quite intriguing. Six each of starters and main courses, two steaks, four desserts and a British cheese board. I liked it – particularly the obvious attention to British sourced ingredients.
My starter of warm beetroot, Berkswell cheese and buttermilk was unexpected though, pretty heritage beetroot rather than the deep red variety – and a far more delicate result.
My companion’s cured Scottish salmon with rhubarb and dill would have been enough for two, but was quickly consumed by one!
One of the Malt House specials I’d imagined to be Ox Cheek. But ‘Cheeky Butcher’s cut’ turned out to be a very generous and extremely well-flavoured steak, which arrived with a beautifully charred outside and perfectly pink middle.
The first attempt at my Cumbrian Fillet turned out to be medium, rather than rare. I questioned it…and it was replaced without any hesitation and with many apologies. I thought long and hard about whether to mention it here because the food overall was excellent…but actually came to the conclusion that the way it was dealt with was absolutely exemplary. We were not there doing a review meal– so I don’t believe it was in any way ‘special’ treatment. And, an ability to rectify a situation so that the overall effect is more ticks in the box is, in my view, something very special.
Sides were perfect. Simple and clean, the sort of things you might like to be able to make at home.
On to dessert. Well, my Yorkshire Rhubarb Eton Mess was a real feast of fresh flavours and I thought that rhubarb was a particularly effective counter to the sweetness of the meringue. My companion’s malted vanilla ice cream looked superb and was polished off too rapidly for me to steal.
All in, this is a good new local with a menu that I think is sufficiently differentiated from its nearest competitor, The Harwood Arms. My only criticism is that right now it feels a little clinical. Very stylish with pristine paintwork and wooden floors. It needs to age a little and, hopefully as the weather improves and the pretty courtyard garden is useable, it will mellow.
The Malt House
17 Vanston Place
London SW6 1AY