12 St George Street
Having heard wondrous things, my dear pal Matthew and I decided to give Wild Honey a whirl one rainy weekday lunchtime. As we strolled chatting and laughing into the plush mahogany toned room, stuffed with businessmen, we found ourselves suddenly uncomfortably silenced under the unflinching stares of a battalion of rich pensioners. I suddenly became very aware of my Topshop clothes, my hungover face and the old boots I was carrying in a Tesco’s carrier bag. Oh dear. Nonetheless the staff hardly batted an eyelid, and made us feel incredibly welcome. The service was in fact superlative, they fixed a wobbly table leg the second we sat down and offered several great recommendations from the menu.
I ordered the braised veal’s head with a gribiche sauce which I immediately felt guilty about as it was veal, but then I eat like an orthorexic teenager the rest of the time, so thought that just this once might be ok. It was an excellent choice. Tender, salty melting baby-pink wafers of unctuous meat off-set with a piquant caper and gherkin sauce. I wanted to lick the plate, but caught the beady eye of the old woman next to me and thought the better of it.
The chestnut soup was deep and full bodied, with bits of ham in it but nothing out of the ordinary. The confit of duck was good, it fell correctly off the bone, and arrived with some nicely flavoured vegetables, however it lacked the requisite fresh and tangy sauce to counterbalance its fatty nature. It was sadly, not unlike a thousand other duck confits before it.
Matthew said his Gurnard was also pretty average, however I had a taste and found it to be light and enlivened with a well considered touch of vinaigrette sauce. Besides, it’s always good to see a sustainable alternative to cod on the menu.
The vanilla panacotta was almost perfect. Almost. Not too sweet, it arrived bursting with vanilla seeds and the rhubarb compote complemented it nicely. The cheese was also fairly average, however the slick of chestnut miel was a delicious and witty touch.
During the meal Matthew became very excited about the glass cabinet in the middle of the room, groaning with artisan cheeses. It was a shame about the midges that hovered about the counter, and indeed over our plates. I would definitely return to Wild Honey, for the veal’s head alone and at £16.75 each for the set lunch menu, the value for money factor was fantastic. However London seems to be full of restaurants like this, ticking boxes and delivering very nice food, but without taking any real risks. Wild Honey is more than capable of upgrading a lot of its dishes to make them really stand out and needs to do this soon before it disappears into an abyss of flip-chart establishments for overpaid bankers.