The only downside to Perilla, a new restaurant from chef Ben Marks and FOH Matt Emmerson, who have run a host of successful pop ups, is it’s in Newington Green, which happens to be a right old faff to get to. [Full disclosure: I’m incredibly lazy].
Once in, it’s a beauty of a place. There’s wood galore with a ceiling reminiscent of an attic/garden centre, candles flicker away on each table and a semi open kitchen ensures we can see a chef or two which always goes down well. Service is relaxed and cool.
The menu is pretty reasonable so we opt for the 5 course tasting menu priced at £38. Now, any meal that starts with seaweed bread brushed with roasted lamb fat is always going to go down well with me. Bread brushed with ROASTED LAMB FAT? Yes please.
Keeping things lamby, aged lamb ribs with cucumber relish is next. More of that fat, this time rendered down so it’s both soft and crisp, comes off the bone swiftly. Proper heart warming (and ending) stuff.
Fried duck egg with mussels and parsley is a strange one; I’ve never had egg and mussels before. By heck though, it works. ‘Potroast broccoli with cabbages and hung yoghurt’ is another cracking flavour combo. Essentially, just a bit of broccoli with thin shards of crispy cabbage and some yoghurt – yet so tasty.
Roast duckling has bright red flesh and a crisp, salty skin and the duck is wild giving it a far richer flavour. The accompanying sauerkraut cuts through the fat like a good’en.
To segue from savoury to sweet, a sort of palate cleanser if you will, is a bowl of salad which is a touch odd; we wonder if they’ve brought it by mistake. The lip smacking dressing certainly does cleanse one’s palate but the bowl is just a bit big I think.
For pud, walnut custard, only just set, with sultana grapes is a marvellous, marvellous thing. I’ve never had anything quite like it.
So, take it from Mr Lazy himself, Perilla really is worth trekking to Newington Green for. It’s one of those restaurants, of which there are a surprising amount of at the moment, which has opened with a brilliant menu and solid front of house. N16 suddenly seems quite appealing.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant