Cripes, all this relaxed accessibility. All this casualness. All this sharing. I’m surprised anyone ever actually makes it out of bed, let alone into a restaurant.
We’re all too busy being casual and relaxed about everything, sharing everything and generally being accessible. Personally I’ve dived head first into this new trend and left my front door open this morning, hopefully making it more accessible to passers by. In an attempt to be more casual, I haven’t spoken to my mother in weeks. But all this general open-armed accesibleness and friendly jeans & converse-wearing makes me hungry. so I need a non-stuffy, casual, relaxed and informal eatery to fully express my rejection of formalities in a relaxed, convivial, sharing environment.
|Chargrilled chicken, peanut, cucumber|
Tredwells is the new West-End eatery offering from Marcus Wareing seemingly designed to ape the success of places such as Foxlow and Social Eating House perhaps. Everyone can picture the brainstorming meeting. “What we need is one of those dark and dingy booths n barstool ‘casual eatery’ type places, You know, blokey, but swish, like a restaurant version of Hackett or Murdock, bit of dark wood & shiny brass here, leather there, green glass lampshade maybe?”
It describes itself as ‘combining accessibility with a relaxed, informal atmosphere’ with ‘modern London cooking with an emphasis on sharing’ and in keeping with the current trend of rejecting all the stuffy conventions of tradition, the menu is in no convenient order, but separated into sections called Snacks, Pots & Jars, Breads & Buns, Bowls, Grills & Smokes , Salads & Vege.
|Lamb chops, minted bean chutney|
Food all arrives at once, as is ‘a la mode’ in London 2014. Of course it does. Casual & carefree. Why are we all constrained to these silly rules like ‘starter’ or ‘main course’? How stuffy. How contstrained. How square.
So I’m going with this. Down with it. Problem is, the lamb cutlets arrive at the same time as the shrimp cocktails, and I’m left with the dilemma: do I eat the chops first, while they’re hot, or leave them to gradually cool down and allow the lovely glistening shine to congeal until I’m ready to eat them - how tragically conventional - 10 or 15 mins later following the chilled shrimp cocktail. Which If I had left, would have gradually warmed up to that lukewarm horribleness that seafood should never be.
So we end up just sort of picking through everything at the same time, like a kind of wedding buffet, not quite sure if what we had was really going with everything else. Bite of chilly shrimp, bite of lamb, bite of beetroot houmous. No start, no middle, no end.
Anyway, the food itself was a real hit and miss for me. Some pretty good, some odd, bordering on bizarre.
Here’s what I remember:
Lamb chops: juicy and tasty, with a pleasant minted bean chutney.
‘Beetroot hummus’ this was a bit rubbish. Could have done with some salt, and possibly some garlic, lemon juice, and maybe swap the beetroot for chickpeas. Just a thought.
Chargrilled chicken, peanut, cucumber: Oddest tasting combination I’ve ever had I think. Not sure I would order again.
Shrimp cocktail: good sauce, tasty shrimps. Question: are shrimps the official new word for prawns? Or are they the small ones? Someone knowledgeable please inform me.
House salad: This was just a sad looking bowl of wet vegetable stuff with a vinegary dressing which just acted as texture.
Polenta fries with smoked tomato dip: edible enough, not bad at all. Tomato dip does what all tomato dips do, and made me want Heinz.
Desserts: My chocolate pot with Campari ice instantly transported my back to Christmas as a child, accidentally biting into my great Aunt’s chocolate liquors.
|Chocolate pot, Campari ice|
Muscovado sponge, coffee and walnut, not a disaster at all. Best of the two.
|Muscovado sponge, coffee & walnut|
So Tredwell's food is obviously from a good pedigree, we all know that. Design-wise, the tired bandwagon-jumping that so many London restaurateurs are rather cringeingly doing to try and stay hip, like drunk uncles at weddings around your hot teenage friend is rather boring, but I wasn't completely annoyed by it. Weirdly, opposite Dishoom and Jamie's over the road, Tredwell's kind of slots into place as another out-of-towners out on the town dining place, and with Marcus's forthcoming TV attention it seems the perfect choice of location to snare some boot cut jeans wearing groups from the home counties between shops-n-a show.
But does Tredwell's make me go home thinking 'if I never went to another restaurant ever again, I would be happy that this was my last one'? Nope. And I believe - rather naively perhaps - every restaurant should make you feel like that.