Challenging the Marylebone Food Scene – Twist Kitchen Review.
What happens when a couple meet through work, fall in love and decide to follow their passion and set up their own restaurant? In the case of Twist Kitchen, a quirky independent restaurant in Marylebone, the result is one I’d urge you to try for yourself. But then, with the kitchen in the hands of Michelin trained Eduardo Tuccillo and front of house managed by his wife, Giulia Isola (ex Caprice), there’s a good chance things will work out well. With 2AA rosette stars, you are assured of a certain quality of food, but my own experience goes well beyond that rating. The busy restaurant, which spreads over the ground floor and basement, is a testament to the popularity of this five-year-old outfit.
Naples born Eduardo has created a menu of tapas dishes and Josper grills. Giulia advised that two or three tapas dishes per person were about right, but carnivores will want to keep space for the ‘Jospar-Bone for Two’ – a massive chunk of grass-fed, well-aged beef from Walter Rose and Sons. More of that later.
Twist Kitchen is a smooth operation. There’s an open kitchen to the rear of the restaurant and somehow a plethora of beautiful dishes appear seamlessly. We started by nibbling on a plate of Instagram perfect Padron peppers carefully scattered with fleur de sel. Here, I have to point out, the salt really matters. Fleur de sel is that fine crystalline flakey stuff that appears at the top of natural salt pans – it has a delicate melting taste, nothing like the stuff you might normally buy to cook with.
Pickled boquerones (anchovies) from Cantabrico sea came with an Amalfi lemon stuffing are a delicacy that in Spain and Italy are as important as Iberico ham. Reputedly the best anchovies in the world, here they were served with a delicate herb oil. Delicious.
A dish of Japanese scallops topped with Mazara red prawns, tiny rolls of lightly pickled cucumber and a liquorice wafer was another beautiful dish. The colour of the prawns isn’t entirely true in my photo, they are a deep red and are yet another Italian delicacy, this time from Sicily. These are the only prawns certified as ‘Friends of the Sea’ – ethical and sustainably harvested.
We went on to enjoy one of the specials, ora king salmon, New Zealand salmon which is known as the Wagyu of fish, with a garnish of Oscietra caviar, soya truffle dressing and seaweed. A beautiful and delicate cut of fish.
Then octopus with black garlic, cauliflower and Pata Negra lard.
My own choice from the fish menu was the Brixham cod which appeared as a large loin, on a bed of shaved fennel in a miso and bergamot broth with what I think was puffed rice. Perfectly cooked this was another dish where the quality of the ingredients sang.
Fried courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, mint, Amalfi lemon and honey were utterly delicious. I know from experience how hard it is to source courgette flowers in London – they don’t stay fresh for more than a day or so and so this popular Italian dish is rare over here. A lovely treat to have such a taste of Italy in the heart of London.
Wiltshire lamb chops I suspect were also sourced from Walter Rose, based in Devizes. I lived in Wiltshire for a while and the local pubs tended to punch about their weight in terms of meat dishes thanks to their supplier. It wasn’t until I returned to London that I discovered how popular Walter Rose was a commercial butcher, supplying many of the Michelin restaurant in London and the M25. Tender and sweet, these were the perfect cutlets with their aubergine and green harissa dressing.
Then there was the Josper-Bone for two. It’s cooked on the josper and then brought flaming to table before being taken away to be cut up for you. Served medium rare, it comes with roast potatoes, and we enjoyed a side order of ‘josperised’ hispi cabbage with garlic and chilli.
By now our table of four were quite full. But we couldn’t miss desserts. At least not ones that sounded as beautiful as some of these.
Pineapple, crème patisserie, chocolate soil, sorrel and apple was a delicious flavour combination with the dark chocolate soil and bruléed creme patisserie nicely softening the acidic pineapple.
Picture perfect cheesecake with mango and black olive caramel was another beautifully composed dessert with flavours that really complemented each other.
We also tried some of the ice cream and a portion of cheese both of which were excellent and reflected the excellent sourcing throughout the meal.
Marylebone is a bit of a gastronomy hot spot in London and Twist Kitchen is now added to my own list of favourites in the area – places like Providores and Tapa Room, the original Iberica The Royal Oak and The Harcourt. I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with having competition – this is somewhere people head when they want to eat well and avoid the marketing hype of Covent Garden and the West End. Twist Kitchen stands out for exceptional sourcing, perfect preparation and excellent service. It’s somewhere I’ll be going again soon and I highly recommend you pop along and try for yourself.
42 Crawford Street
Tel: 020 7723 3377