Flavour Bastard: What's All The Fuss About?
When it comes to a roasting, Flavour Bastard has been seared. Soho’s latest addition to loosen-the-apron-strings dining has had a generous dollop of bad press. While Marina O'Loughlin (formerly) of The Guardian “can’t find much to be positive about”, Grace Dent tells Evening Standard readers: “I never want to go back”. Ouch.
Then again, you set the bar high when you promise to “remove rules and traditions”. Anything short of revolutionary is sure to come under fire.
Perusing the restaurant’s new brunch menu, we're apprehensive in a Marmite kind of way; will we love it or hate it? Fortunately, the avocado tempura doesn’t trigger our gag reflex quite like salty tar on toast (sorry, Marmite lovers). In fact, we find some of the critics’ hyperbolic reactions to Flavour Bastard far less palatable than the food, which, for the most part, is very tasty.
Nothing excites the tastebuds like a sprinkling of incendiary rhetoric (case in point: Hell’s Kitchen is on its 17th series). It seems to us that Flavour Bastard has been the unfortunate victim of a somewhat crowded kick-a-man-when-he’s-down bandwagon.
Admittedly, there is some truth in Marina O’Loughlin’s sarcasm: "Oh, the wackiness: fan me, for I fear an attack of the vapours”. Alas, there is no revolutionary dish. The flavour combinations are interesting and well executed, but fall short of that promise to “remove rules and traditions”; as Keith Miller tells Telegraph readers, “less rock & roll” than they purport to be. That said, there is certainly nothing unpleasant about the food. We might even have a few positives to lend O’Loughlin.
The French toast with melted goat’s cheese earns the biggest thumbs up. Warm stodgy brioche snuggled under a blanket of hot gooey cheese; an ultimate hangover cure contender. Then there are the poached eggs and chestnut puree, arguably the most offbeat dish on the new menu. The bed of chestnut puree has the appearance, texture and, dare we say it, taste of soil; perhaps the flavours combinations are more unorthodox than we've given them credit for. Casting thoughts of swallowing soil aside, we grow rather fond of the “earthy notes”. The rice pancakes and coconut relish are another moreish, albeit ‘safe’, combination.
There is one item on the menu we find befitting of Grace Dent’s “confusing, underwhelming nonsense” stamp: Bastard Mary. The restaurant’s take on the tomato-based cocktail sees a dash of Worcestershire sauce swapped for lashings of soy sauce. The sight of the oily surface bubbles is charming compared to the taste of the brackish drink. Guys, when it comes to Bloody Mary, please stick to the “rules and traditions”.
Flavour Bastard, 63-64 Frith Street, W1D 3JW.
Last Updated 23 November 2017