It’s probably social suicide posting a review of a “freebie” so close to #bloggerblackmail (if you haven’t read up on that then you really should!) but this restaurant was so good I feel I have a duty to tell you about it.
Rök, a Nordic smokehouse, has just opened on Curtain Road, which isn’t a particularly nice area if I’m being honest – there are always drunken ruffians hanging about the place. Away from that, it’s a cute little spot; all wooden and bare with a tiny open kitchen with just one chef. It’s minimalist, but sexy.
To start, the Cobble Lane charcuterie selection with toasted sourdough with pickled sauerkraut and fennel (£9.50) was great. The fatty slices of saucisson (I think?) were my favourite.
Scallop in the shell with nduja (£5) came in the most glorious buttery, spicy sauce – we instantly ordered more bread to soak it up. The scallops were dreamy, with some samphire to add texture. Mussels (£8) probably didn’t need samphire as well, but the Wu Gang Chops the Tree sauce (that’s beer FYI) was incredible.
There were plenty of meat options for main, and I was surprised to hear all of the meat is water-bathed, then finished off on the grill. My heart sank. But it needn’t have. Duck leg with bacon and lingonberry jam (£16) tasted like it had undergone a far more adventurous route to my plate. The flavour was big and bold and the meat fell off its perfectly trimmed bone.
I’m a sucker for a lamb chop, just ask Blacklock. The ones here (£16) were thick, yet had perfectly cooked fat that melted away as I sunk my teeth into it. There was also a lamb rib (£16), a notoriously fatty piece of meat, which had such an impressive flavour. Guinea fowl with nduja (£15) was slightly less spectacular, but tasty never-the-less.
A side of cauliflower cheese topped with beef dust (£5) tasted as good as it sounds – I mean, beef dust?! Then there was a salad of charcoal beetroot with goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts (£4.50). The chunks of beetroot had a charred, wrinkly exterior giving them a moreish texture. The jars of pickles (£2.50 each) made for some refreshing respite from the meat sweats but some of them had a slightly fishy taste to them – very odd.
There was only one choice of pud; wood roasted peach (£6) which was a blend of soft, sticky peach, crunchy almonds and tangy crème fraîche. If you’re only going to offer one dessert then it should be perfect – and it really was.
So yes, you can say I was in the pay of the restaurant if you want. But forget that for a second, and just go and see Rök for yourself. Get a scallop to start and the lamb for main and you’ll leave as happy I did.
I dined as guest of the restaurant.