Restaurant review: Verden, E5

Bar at Verden

Bar at Verden - Credit: Archant

Wine bar’s steak night has rare quality

There are few moments in a meal that match the anticipation of cutting into a bulging steak and seeing the juices ooze on to your plate.

Perhaps that’s why – just six months into their first restaurant venture, Verden, in Clapton – Ed Wyand and Tom Bell decided to put on a steak night.

Verden, 100 yards from Clapton Pond, has the allure of a high end wine bar but is just as serious about its food as its handpicked tipples.

The cuisine is nonspecific – a sort of ‘best of European’ approach with an array of fresh fish dishes along with a fine selection of cold meats and cheeses.

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But on Tuesdays it’s steak night.

In anticipation of our meat feast we held off and picked a small sample of starters, opting for crispy, salty nibles in the shape of the wonderfully light black olive tempura, along with the gigantic griddled prawns which, with their great girth, were juicy and came with a chilli and garlic kick.

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Another bite to set us up was the rich, enzyme-inducing Pig Head fritter – a wonderfully warm hammy flavour accompanied with a generous dollop of creamy coleslaw.

Verden offers three cuts of beef on steak night: bavette, rump or rib-eye, very reasonably priced from £12 to £16 and served with a helping of skinny, crispy chips and a choice of either hollandaise, peppercorn or chimichurri sauce.

The rib-eye, paired with peppercorn sauce, was sublime and full of flavour.

Delicately seasoned, a perfectly judged medium rare and a bright dark red in the middle, soft and sumptuous.

So tender in fact that Verden neglect to indulge the tradition of an aggressively perforated steak knife, the absence of which was barely noticed.

The rump, cooked medium with herby chimichurri sauce, was naturally slightly tougher and the thinner cut, but still possessed the similarly intense and pure juicy flavour found in the rib-eye.

Dessert was less emphatic but thankfully light, featuring the fresh, fruity sorbets in raspberry and gin and tonic flavours and the creamy banoffee cheesecake with a buttery biscuit base.

Part of the charm of Verden is the extensive choice of wines which the staff will happily help you align with your food choices.

The recommended Gerard Boulay Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc and the Maliban Prosecco both went down very well with the meal.

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