Rochelle Canteen feels like one of those hidden gems, tucked away in an old school playground which can only be entered by buzzing the bell on an unassuming door. Inside, there is a courtyard filled with older hipster types drinking wine in the sun (it’s BYO FYI) and a small dining room with an open kitchen. It felt like we were on holiday.
The menu is small and concise and changes frequently. We started with a wonderful plate of soft gnocchi alla Romana (£8) which was made using polenta making them squidgy as anything. A sage butter was plentiful and most delightful. Duck offal and bacon skewers (£7.50) was the sort of thing you’d cook yourself at home as a comforting treat (well I’d like to think I would anyway); it was a hangover cure if ever there was one.
Bavette and chips (£17.50), for main, was a solid version of the staple. The chips, thin ones not the giant ones that I so very loathe, were well seasoned and both crisp and slightly greasy which is what I always look for.
Suckling pig chops on the menu was in fact suckling pig shoulder (£20) due to its popularity and our late-in-the-day table. The crackling on top was the finest I’ve found, and trust me I’ve been searching. The accompanying veg (turnip tops possibly?) was just a bit bitter for me but a side of creamed spinach (£4.50) was far more up my alleyway.
For pud, we shared the chocolate cake and creme fraiche (£6.50) which was something so simple (it had a touch of the Betty Crocker about it) yet so perfect – the very best way to end the very best lunch.
Rochelle Canteen is owned by Margot Henderson, wife of Fergus Henderson of St John fame, so it’s no wonder the seasonal produce, simple menu and perfectly executed dishes in such plain surrounds work so well. I think I may have just found my new favourite place.