One joyous lunch is all that is required to convince you that a chef like Chris Denney will be going places in the not too distant future. The venue where you can find his considerable talents on display is the curiously named 108 Garage in West London not far from Portobello Road. It is one of those peculiar restaurants which demands a physical viewing no matter what amount of descriptive words are thrown in to describe the venture. It is a garage conversion which explains the excessive amounts of bare bricks and masculine-looking concrete floor on display.
You suspect the menu changes on a regular basis hence you can't even find a sample menu on their website. We visited during weekend lunchtime and sampled a very reasonably priced 6-course tasting menu for £45 per person. The bread course isn't normally discussed in reviews or even general customer feedback; but their homemade sourdough has a firm crispy outer crisp matched with a tangy sour taste which was perfectly complemented by their selection of seaweed butter, tarama and chicken liver parfait.
Raw cepes had a rather meaty texture and given a European makeover with stracciatella, secrecto and flavoured with some hearty beer. In complete contrast, was the very delicate and light scallop dish: the meat served raw and sliced thin sashimi style. There was a certain deftness of touch with well-chosen ingredients to complement the scallop like lovage, horseradish, apple and caviar. Although, you might suspect this summery dish might not be around much longer as we approach the autumn season.
The main act in the tasting menu was the hogget. It is meat from a sheep that is between one and two years old, so the colour of the meat does tend to be darker and redder than younger lambs and have a richer flavour. The flavours were made even stronger with the use of miso aubergine as an accompaniment and it is one of those items that are rapidly becoming omnipresent on all aspiring chef's menus.
We had a palate-cleanser in the form of a grape sorbet before our dessert course was served. Dessert was silky smooth buttermilk which was given some acidity and sweetness in the form of apple butter and blackberries. If you have any room left, for a small supplement, they can offer a cheese course as well.
Throughout this tasting journey, it was hard to find fault with any of the courses and it's hardly surprising to find they will soon be opening a new restaurant in the area in the form of Southam Street.
For more information on 108 Garage, see here.
Follow Candid Magazine on Instagram, here.