The Frog E1 Shoreditch, restaurant review: ‘Only propriety stops me licking plate clean’
- Credit: Archant
With a name like The Frog emblazoned on a graffiti logo, you could be forgiven for thinking that this new Shoreditch restaurant is an art gallery or a cool new bar.
While it is, in fact, both of these things, it is also the latest venture of award-winning chef Adam Handling, who came within a whisker of winning Masterchef: The Professionals in 2013.
He’s been winning plaudits heading up the flagship Adam Handling at Caxton restaurant at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster.
But he’s now left to create The Frog E1 – one of several new eateries he’ll open over the next few years.
Its décor is immeasurably ‘Shoreditch’: all industrial-chic tables and works by young artists for sale on the walls - part of the ethos to showcase young creative talent.
You may also want to watch:
The food, however, is exquisite fine dining at its best.
We try the 10-course tasting menu at a very reasonable £45, with the drinks pairing (an extra £35 pp). All wines are made by young winemakers, and they suit each course perfectly.
- 1 Man in Highbury court charged with shooting gun in High Holborn
- 2 Kacem Mokrane: Islington man amongst seven charged with 2017 murder
- 3 Tony Eastlake: Man denies murder of ‘flower man of Islington’
- 4 Islington community charity launches with sunny street party
- 5 Council fund boosts plans for Islington 'urban forest'
- 6 'Islington drivers – you don't always need to overtake cyclists'
- 7 Consultation launches on St Peter’s people-friendly streets scheme
- 8 Missing teenagers from Dagenham may be in Islington or Haringey
- 9 Jeremy Corbyn joins campaign to protect human right Article 25
- 10 'We will miss you': Tufnell Park's Ruby Violet ice cream parlour to close
The menu starts you off with four ‘snacks’ – appetisers to you or me.
There’s moreish fatty croquettes that have a satisfying crunch from crackling, the aniseed-tasting herb lovage cutting through the fat.
‘Beetroot, beetroot and more beetroot’ is a smooth mousse wrapped in a crispy coating, exploding in beetroot flavour.
Delicate droplets of salt cod are served on what tastes like a posh prawn cracker, garnished with indulgent caviar.
Last is Handling’s famous smoky chicken butter, reminiscent of Sunday dinners when eaten with the warm home-made bread.
Onto the mains. The mackerel with apple, avocado and lime is refreshing and delicate; it lets the fish do the talking.
The roast hake is meatier but still falls apart on your fork, served with the creamiest mashed potatoes and a zing of tarragon.
But the highlight is the lamb, served with artichoke and wild garlic.
The flavour is so intense and luscious, that only propriety stops me from licking the plate clean.
The cheese course is rich, gooey cheese doughnuts, which have a mess of truffle shavings on top; we stuff them in our mouths greedily.
The almond, dill and milk sorbet arrives just in time to cleanse the palette, but I’m not sure about the addition of dill – a slightly medicinal taste.
I finish with a dessert of burnt honey, malted ice cream and toffee. It’s a bit of childish fun at the end of the meal, but the burnt honey is more of an adult taste, a deeper treacle-y flavour that ensures the plate isn’t too sweet.
It’s easy to see why Handling, at only 27, continues to win awards with his near flawless food.
I can’t wait to see what his next venture will be.