Antidote is a wine bar and restaurant just off Carnaby Street. There have been rumours that Michelin starred chef Mikael Jonsson of Hedone in Chiswick is currently heading – or is just about to take over – the kitchen so we thought we’d pop along for a spot of Saturday lunch to check it out.
Upstairs is the dining room which offers only a set menu for lunch at £23 for three courses. We decided to sit downstairs however, in the more informal wine bar and order some small plates from the menu written on the blackboard. It was a bright and airy space filled with natural light; it had a peaceful atmosphere. We were seated at stools by the window and it was very pleasant indeed.
We started with some particularly good sliced focaccia (£3.25) served with unpasteurised butter. Soft, spongy, chewy, sweet – my God, if it wasn’t the best bread I’ve ever eaten then I don’t know what is.
The four dishes we ordered all arrived at the same time (we had actually ordered five but our waitress forgot one). The herring fillets, rocket and focaccia (£6) came exactly as described; two fillets atop a slice of more of that focaccia and sprinkled with rocket. Perfectly cooked but just a bit too fishy for us.
The pear and Cevennes onion gratin (£4) was totally delicious. Seriously sweet and buttery with a crispy topping – there was nothing not to like really. The suckling pork belly, quince and spinash (£8.50) – spinash?! – was incredible. It was quite small for £8.50 but the flavour of the pork, with its layer of crisp, salty fat was to die for.
Equally sublime was the salt marsh lamb shoulder, broccoli and seaweed purée (£9.50) which, again was a little pricey for the portion size but the quality of the ingredients and their cooking was spot on. The seaweed purée wasn’t as pungent as I’d imagined; instead it provided a lovely salty background flavour for the lamb.
No desserts were available which seemed a shame but they’ll start doing them soon apparently. Whether there actually is a Michelin starred chef involved with Antidote or not (our waitress remained tightly lipped when asked) we’ll have to wait and see. Either way, our meal was pleasant enough, not life changing but very tasty. That bread alone is worthy of a visit I’d say.