Core, London, 4/27/18

building
building

CORE by Clare Smyth is a medium sized restaurant that has been open since last August (about 9 months).  The casual but elegant feel of the place is enhanced by well spaced tables, some of which sit on carpet rounds that help absorb sound.  In addition the ceiling is in different heights with more sound absorbing material and thus conversation is easy.  The bare wood tables were set with lovely cloth napkins decorated with a tiny bouquet of flowers.  There were two larger round booth seats on one wall but most of the tables have their own comfortable chairs.  Another wall had some windows to the street, so in the daytime there was lots of natural light.  You enter into the well stocked bar area where there is more seating and walk by the glass walled kitchen on the way to the dining room.  No music was in the background but some art was on the walls as well as some bookcases with interesting objects and books.  

entrance
entrance

The guests were a mix of ages and mostly in casual dress at lunch.  There were tons of service people that were friendly and attentive.  The menu offered 3 different tasting menu options- 3 courses where you chose one of 4 choices, 5 course set menu or 8 course set – all with some assorted amuse bouche, an optional cheese course and optional wine pairings.  We chose the longest tasting and ordered our own wine along with a cocktail to start.  Portion control was good as was the pace of the meal.

interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
menu presentation
menu presentation
menu
menu
table set up
table set up
Frankie and a cocktail
Frankie and an Alaska cocktail
place setting flowers
place setting flowers

 

The amuse bouche included pea and mint gougeres;  jellied eel, toasted seaweed and malt vinegar; crispy smoked duck wing, burnt orange and spices; and foie gras parfait and madeira.  They were all excellent.  The gougere was really minty and yummy, filled with pea essence,  the eel was smokey and just sprayed with malt vinegar – quite nice, the duck wing was really crispy and unbelievably good with just a hint of sweetness, the parfait was foie gras mousse in a crisp shell and wonderful.  They thoughtfully brought wet handtowels for you to use before or after eating or both.

amuse bouche
amuse bouche
pea and mint gougéres
pea and mint gougéres

 

closer
inside
Jellied eel, toasted seaweed and malt vinegar
Jellied eel, toasted seaweed and malt vinegar
closer
closer
crispy smoked duck wing, burnt orange and spices
crispy smoked duck wing, burnt orange and spices
another angle
another angle
closer
closer
Foie gras parfait and madeira
Foie gras parfait and madeira
closer
closer
wet hand towel
wet hand towel
Frankie and the table flowers
Frankie and the table flowers

 

Bread was a malted sourdough variety made in house served with salted Normandy butter.  The bread had a good crust with a moist, dense interior and the butter was wonderful.

bread
bread
another angle
another angle
butter
butter
wine
wine
wine label
wine label
Frankie liked the water
Frankie liked the water

 

Isle of Mull scallop tartar was with a sea vegetable consommé.  The broth was herby and buttery and the raw scallop was really moist.  It was the time of year when scallops contain more water and they took full advantage of this feature.  It was a nicely seasoned dish so that it didn’t overwhelm the taste of the scallop.

Isle of Mull scallop tartar with sea vegetable consommé
Isle of Mull scallop tartar with sea vegetable consommé
closer
closer
Frankie checked out the bar
Frankie checked out the bar

 

 

‘Potato and roe’,  dulse beurre blanc, herring and trout roe was a throwback to Chef Smyth who grew up around the potato industry.  The potato cooked in seaweed was surrounded by a sauce of seaweed and butter at the table.  The potato was firm but correctly soft in the interior.  This is a signature dish of the chef and you could taste why.  The sauce was outstanding and amazing.  This wasn’t ‘just a potato’ anymore.  Delicious.

presentation
presentation
'Potato and roe', dulse beurre blanc, herring and trout roe
‘Potato and roe’, dulse beurre blanc, herring and trout roe
closer
closer
Frankie posed
Frankie posed

 

Skate was with Morecambe bay shrimps, Swiss chard and brown butter.  The Cornish skate was poached then fried in a brown butter sauce with the little shrimp on top.  Another amazing sauce highlighted the perfectly cooked fish and all was topped with a crispy, lacey garnish.  It was a wonderful combination of flavors that lingered deliciously in your mouth.

Skate, Morecambe bay shrimps, Swiss chard, brown butter
Skate, Morecambe bay shrimps, Swiss chard, brown butter
top off
closer
another angle
top off
Frankie napped on the purse stool
Frankie napped on the purse stool

 

‘Lamb carrot’ was braised lamb with sheep’s milk yoghurt.  The really fresh carrot was brushed with lamb fat while cooking and then topped with crispy bits of lamb meat.  Surrounded by a gelatinous sauce the carrot really picked up the flavor of lamb.  It was served with a warm soft roll that also was brushed with savory flavors.  This was a lip licking excellent dish.

'Lamb carrot', briased lamb, sheep's milk yoghurt
‘Lamb carrot’, briased lamb, sheep’s milk yoghurt
closer
closer
another side
another side
another side
another side
buns
buns
other side
another angle
from the top
from the top
inside
inside
Frankie studied the knife rest
Frankie studied the knife rest for the next course

 

Scottish venison with smoked bacon, pearl barley and whisky was served in 2 pieces all surrounded by whisky and venison drippings sauce.  One piece was roasted rare tenderloin and the other was more like haggis as it was made with smoked organ meat and topped with cabbage.  Venison is a fairly dry meat and unfortunately there was nothing they could do to change that but the flavors were good however this course didn’t measure up to the previous ones.

Scottish venison, smoked bacon, pearl barley, whisky
Scottish venison, smoked bacon, pearl barley, whisky
closer
closer
closest
closest
Frankie checked out the bathroom decorations
Frankie checked out the bathroom decorations

 

The first dessert was ‘Core apple.’  It was caramelized apple with apple mousse and pieces inside.  It was very light and strongly tasted of apple.  It was a fairly mild dish with a hint of tartness.

'Core apple'
‘Core apple’
closer
closer
other side
other side
inside
inside
apple pieces inside
apple pieces inside
chef and waiter and frankie
Chef Johnny and Frankie with Rob Rose

 

Wild strawberry, meringue  and lemon verbena was a work of art.  The verbena was from the south of France and strongly flavored that almost  took over the strawberry flavor.  The crispy meringue added a nice touch of texture.  The strawberry sorbet inside of the creation was spiked with some tapioca balls that nicely balanced the tiny seedy berries.

Wild strawberry, meringue and lemon verbena
Wild strawberry, meringue and lemon verbena
from the top
from the top
closer
closer
inside
inside
Frankie tested the hand towels
Frankie tested the hand towels

 

Warm chocolate tart had a good filling but the crust would have benefitted from more butter.  It was served with ‘Sauternes and Banyuls’ which were jellies made from sauternes that tasted just like a nice glass of that wonderful wine.  The Banyuls tasted more medicinal and alcoholic and was not sweet.  Fun and different endings for a wonderful meal.

last treats
last treats
Warm chocolate tart
Warm chocolate tart
inside
inside
waiter and frankie
Restaurant Director Rob Rose and Frankie
'Banyuls'
‘Banyuls’
'Sauternes'
‘Sauternes’
Frankie checked for leftovers
Frankie checked for leftovers
Frankie went for chef's coffee
Frankie went for chef’s coffee
Chef and Frankie
Chef Clare Smyth and Frankie

 

 

2 thoughts on “Core, London, 4/27/18

  1. Helen, this was a great blog, loved all the pictures, the restaurant was pretty. I like the Alaska cocktail! Do they make them here? The food I could eat looked great! Love the potato as the “signature” dish! The bread, buns, dessert look wonderful. Loved seeing Frankie wanting water and restroom was pretty! Everyone wanted to hold him! Super job!

    Liked by 1 person

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