I’ve heard nothing but praise about the Dairy, a restaurant from husband and wife team Robin and Sarah Gill. It’s done so well they’re even opening a deli next door and a new restaurant up the road called The Manor.
It’s a cosy candlelit restaurant with a small bar area with stool seats at the front and a narrow dining room out the back. The semi open kitchen added a touch of drama to proceedings and the super friendly staff made us feel at ease as soon as we arrived.
To get the full experience we opted for the tasting menu priced at £45. To start, a whole host of nibbly snacks (all of which were delicious) were brought out in quick succession. There were Noelera del Belice olives, a heather smoked wood pigeon tartare, Cheltenham beetroot with kefir and hemp seeds and a plate of crispy chicken with cellar kimchi and burnt kale. They certainly seemed on trend with their snack portion sizes yet they tasted unlike anything I’ve eaten before; they all featured a really clever combination of flavours and textures.
Bread was a real highlight and I know I say this a lot, but it was probably the best bread I’ve ever eaten. It was a simple looking sourdough roll but it was out of this world; the almost treacly inside was insanely light and fluffy which was the perfect tool to scoop up the smoked bone marrow butter and chicken liver mousse.
‘Lucie Marie’ sea bass, toasted cauliflower and dulse butter was another example of brilliant flavour combinations. The quality of the fish was superb too. ‘Lady Hamilton’ smoked cod, charred leeks and sorrel was a pretty little thing. The fish had been (I assume) cooked in a water bath giving it that translucent uncooked look which wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea but I really enjoyed the cod’s mushy texture.
The stand out dish for me was the Yorkshire wood pigeon. Even though the accompanying pigeon hearts were overcooked and therefore chewy, the pigeon itself was exquisite. To add texture, the breasts were covered in puffed barley and although they did look a little like maggots, it was a great touch. A little sheet of celeriac encased the most divine offaly mousse I’ve ever encountered.
We opted for the cheese course (£4.50 extra) which could have only been bettered if the truffled Brie de Meaux hadn’t been served fridge cold. It was atop a slice of fig and walnut toast and drizzled with rooftop honey (they have beehives on the roof don’t you know) which was most pleasant indeed. Just too bloomin’ cold.
The first of the sweet things was a Jersey cream and quince baked Alaska which had a great balance between sharp and sweet.
There was a choice of three deserts but we were kindly treated to them all. The ‘baked spiced Delicia squash cake with yoghurt sorbet’ and the ‘roasted pears, hay milk panna cotta, brown butter’ were both good in a savoury pudding kind of way but it was the ‘salted caramel, cocoa and malted barley ice cream’ that was the real star. Anything with salted caramel in it is always gonna be a winner with me.
It was really difficult not to love the Dairy, there’s something about the place that made us want to stay all night. We were even shown the rooftop herb garden which was humungous and seriously impressive. London ain’t short of good restaurants but the Dairy is certainly one of the more exciting ones.