Flavour Bastard restaurant, we went because the name made us giggle and the critic reviews were so scathing that it could only be better than expected. It was and we’d definitely go back, not just for its name sake!
The concept behind the restaurant, and its cheeky name, is “a story of flavours running away from home”; essentially stepping away from the traditional rules of cookery and introducing new ideas to the diner. It’s a small menu comprised of ‘tiny’ and ‘small’ plates and despite all their claims of breaking new boundaries, Elldrew’s first observation was that Flavour Bastard sticks rigidly to the 2017 trend of serving sharing dishes that come out when they’re ready. We like sharing dishes but we’re getting a bit tired of this format but, you know what, at Flavour Bastard it actually works – not least because the flavours are new and complex that a single serving dish might have been overwhelming on the palate, but also because we wouldn’t have got to experience the full breadth of their creativity in one sitting.
You’re recommended to have 3 dishes each with many of the smaller dishes serving three items per portion (perhaps a nod to the current fad for dim sum?) but it worked well because there were three of us dining. Had there been four of us it might have been a problem.
Whilst we were getting to grips with the intricacies of the menu we started with the bread and butter – which for Flavour Bastard was not conventional butter but a choice of pickled onion & turmeric or “Fat of the Land” (a blend of various animal fats topped with something crispy). Consistent with his love of Temper Restaurant’s beef fat tacos Drew preferred the “Fat of the Land”, equally consistent Ell didn’t, but loved the Pickled Onion Monster Munch flavour of the other butter (yes, we ordered both) – curiously pickled onion also appears on Temper’s menu; it must be another 2017 trend!
As we lingered over a bottle of the house white wine which was a lovely drop for £25, we decided to share a portion of the white lentil, chorizo & pecorino doughnuts and the deep-fried feta with walnuts, honey & mint from the ‘tiny plates’. Both were great, with the doughnuts slightly winning for the more unusual flavour and texture. The feta would have been bland without the nutty honey dressing (but it’s hard to go wrong with deep fried cheese).
We then shared the miso & mango glazed aubergine with a peanut-buckwheat crumble. It was divine, possibly our favourite dish; the crunchiness of the peanut offsetted the gooiness of the aubergine deliciously. The salad of beetroot ‘scented with rose & bergamot, magnolia mustard, ricotta and pine nuts’ – a long winded way of describing what was essentially beetroot tartar – was nice but not outstanding, although the hint of rose did help tame the strong flavours of the beetroot. The Burford brown egg with black truffle, chestnut puree, olive crumble, raw celeriac & shimeji mushroom, with its perfectly poached egg, was another nice dish and we enjoyed the crunchy olive crumble (very Heston Blumenthal looking). Whilst we waited for the meat dishes to make an appearance we commented that what was most unique at Flavour Bastard was the play with textures, giving everything an unusual twist, which was more prominent than creative flavours.
“TFC” (Tandoori Fried Chicken) was up next; we loved this dish, but then it’s not hard to love fried chicken either. The dish had a great crust: not too greasy, not too crumbly, neither tempura, nor breadcrumbs. It was a crust that makes Elldrew salivate as they remember it! Served with an Asian spiced dipping sauce. Yum. The smoked goat with pomegranate & frankincense, orange and mooli was crumbled goat served on a taco; it was nice but didn’t blow us away. That was quickly forgotten when the Dingley Dell pork belly with cinnamon & pepper, bacon jam and pickled carrot arrived; melt in the mouth with a sticky crunch, beautifully seasoned – it was definitely a contender for dish of the day.
Note: we also ordered the house dip selection but we would recommend you save the £3 as they didn’t really go with any of the dishes and to be honest, it should be provided as a given if they feel the dishes need to be spiced up.
Somewhat full by now, we managed to finish it all off with the churro and white chocolate & pecan praline ice cream. We’re churro fans but couldn’t quite get to grips with this dish; lovely ice cream but the churro was cinnamon-y and crunchy and had a curious gritty texture. We went between loving and hating it with each bite and couldn’t quite figure it out (possibly too much cinnamon left the bitter after-taste on our tongues).
We were pleasantly surprised by the bill too; well priced for the amount of food and care put into everything…from the service through to the presentation, Elldrew had a great night out. We’d love to see where the menu goes next and we’ll definitely return. We would encourage you to try it, but it’s not one for plain or fussy eaters – just like its name, the food is bold and brassy and calling out for attention.
63-64 Frith Street, London, W1D 3JW