Cora Pearl, Covent Garden

Cora Pearl is the second restaurant from the trio owners of Kitty Fishers in Mayfair. It was always going to be tricky when their talented chef left as he really put it on the map – that’s Tomos Parry by the way, who went on to open the brilliant BRAT. But it didn’t seem to affect business, they were still packed most nights and here’s their second opening.

Cora Pearl is on that stretch of covent Garden which is suddenly brilliant for food. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Frenchie, Flat Iron, Petersham Nurseries – CapCo, who own most of Covent Garden, deserve a medal for turning tourist land into tasty land.

We’re seated in the window and besides a small wall separating us from the stairway. It means we can’t see much but it’s certainly a cosy spot and the only table in London where your neighbours can’t earwig your conversation. Finally.

Brown shrimp ranhöfer (£6.50) is basically a spicy prawn cocktail on toast. It’s a nibble, a glorious mouthful, blending soft, sweet prawn with a creamy but spicy sauce and crunchy toast.

Cheese and ham toastie with pickle (£7) sees fingers of fried bread sandwiching a wet cheese and ham concoction. It has the perfect amount of grease and longs for the hangover I awake with the following morning.

You know what’s a lovely combination? Burrata and tomatoes. You really can’t beat it. But it is everywhere at the moment. To shake things up, here, just ripe tommies, all different colours perfumed with a lovage pesto, comes with with goat’s curd (£5). You know what’s not as delicious as burrata? Goat’s curd. It just lacks that comforting YUM.

‘Quail Caesar!’ (£12.50) is a lovely thing. It’s a quail Caesar salad as you might have guessed – the soft fillets or pink quail being a more flavorful replacement for chicken breast. The tiny croutons, all oily, are moreish as anything.

For mains, veal fillet and bordelaise sauce (£26) needs a side to make it filling. Handily, sides ard brilliant and suitably simple. We go for carrots and mustard seeds, broccoli with almonds and chips (£5 each) which are like those amazing gazillion fried tatties they do at Quality Chop House.

Far more substantial is an iberico pork chop to share (£60). It’s a beast. Each chop is luciously pink with super sweet fat running round it. Two purées, one apple, one undetectable, are also sweet. It could be too much but it all works perfectly.

For pud, milk and cookies (£5) is my dream. Warm cookie pieces with milk ice cream is such a simple but comforting thing it’s perfect to finish on if you’ve a sweet tooth.

So they’ve done it again, owners Tom Mullion, Tim Steel and Oliver Milburn seem to just get restaurants; simple food, cool vibes, friendly staff. It’s the stuff that will keep people coming back for more.

Would we go back? You betcha
We dined as guests of the restaurant