Minnow: The Fish That Looks Prettier Than It Tastes
There is something romantic about Minnow. The pale sage green restaurant with its large windowpane and tiny pavement terrace is reminiscent of a café in some idyllic English village; Godalming in ‘The Holiday’, perhaps.
Inside is equally charming: French bistro-style tiles and chairs, pastels walls with period panelling, a small walled courtyard at the back and a funky tapas-style bar downstairs.
We kick off with some freshly squeezed juices: one carrot and orange, one apple and cucumber. It's a piquant start to the night.
For starters, we opt for the eggs and artichoke, and pig trotter and barley. The poached egg with spiral aubergine slices is appetising, though the translucent egg looks like it took a very brief dip in the pot. Fortunately, we are not pregnant, and like our eggs runny.
The pig trotter and barley does little to entice: a bowl of wet porridge soused with oil comes to mind. The texture is not much better, falling somewhere between soggy cornflakes and not-very-mashed potatoes. Understandably, we have difficulty appreciating the meat flavours.
For the main, we have the roast mallard, and the charred leek and wild mushroom. After a near-wearisome wait, our waiter tells us that our ticket has been lost. He is very polite and offers us some more hunger-quashing juices to tide us over, which we readily accept.
Our food eventually makes an appearance, and a graceful one at that. Both dishes are beautifully executed; there are no paintbrush stroke purées, but the dishes do have an haute-cuisine look about them. Where the meat flavours previously disappointed, they excel here. The rich and spicy duck is well balanced by the side of sweet baby carrots.
The vegetarian option is less of a triumph; a definite case of style over substance. Chewing the oily leek, we are reminded of the squelch of feet on sodden ground. In complete contrast, the mushroom cuts like tough steak.
But the peak of disappointment is the dessert: there is no cheese and toasted malt loaf left. Surely you can’t run out of cheese and bread?
Minnow, 21 The Pavement, Clapham, SW4 0HY.
Last Updated 20 December 2017