Portland is a new restaurant from Daniel Morgenthau and Will Lander, co-owner of Quality Chop House in Farringdon. It’s a pretty looking restaurant with a similar feel to 10 Greek Street, just with more room which is never a bad thing. The open kitchen at one end of the room and the noisy natter of diners helped create a lively atmosphere.
To start we ordered the pig head croquettes (£4) from the ‘snacks’ section of the menu. These bite size pieces of pig covered in a crisp breadcrumb coating were pleasantly rich and fatty.
The lamb tartare with anchovy mayo and grated yolk (£7) was a particularly good dish. The thick chunks of raw lamb went brilliantly with the slightly fishy mayo. The grated egg yolk was a clever addition too.
The heritage carrots, Mimolette vieille and granola (£7) was a great vegetarian dish. The velvety smooth carrot purée which had plenty of Mimolette (a type of orange cheese) to add to its richness was delicious. The granola sprinkled on top added some much needed texture.
Mains however were disappointing and it didn’t help that they were both luke-warm. The Crediton chicken (£16) had the sort of texture and pale, white colour that you might expect from pre-cooked packet chicken at Tesco. The accompanying parsnips were so sticky I had to prise them from the plate and they were a bit of a basic accompaniment for the bird.
The chargrilled South Devon sirloin (£18) had a strip of gristle running through it which was far from pleasant. Although the flavour was good, there’s plenty of cracking steak to be found in London and this just didn’t stand up to it. The fries (£4) were at least well seasoned and thoroughly enjoyable.
Although puddings were pleasant, they didn’t reach great heights. The lemon tart, meringue and tarragon (£7) lacked flavour. I was hoping to be walloped round the face with big, bold flavours, instead it was just a little tickle. The chocolate bar, peanut butter praline and peanut ice cream (£7) was more successful being a real decadent treat.
As the restaurant had only just opened and was still in soft launch, there was 50% off the bill and we weren’t charged for the dodgy main courses which was a kind gesture. At full price though, it ain’t cheap. On the plus side, service was absolutely brilliant but I wonder if the food at Portland is the type that’ll be absolutely brilliant in a year’s time.