While everyone else is already talking about the latest and hottest restaurants in London, I’m still making my way slowly through my list of must-try restaurants. Roganic was one of these on the list. An inability to plan ahead meant I’d still not eaten there but my super-organised friend did manage to make a booking one recent Saturday lunchtime. Thanks, KK, for arranging it!
If you’re not familiar with the name, Roganic is the two year temporary London restaurant of Simon Rogan and the sister restaurant to Rogan’s highly acclaimed L’Enclume in the Lake District. Roganic is located in Marylebone and looks relatively sleek and finished for a temporary place. It’s a lot smaller than I imagined with just a handful of tables, all well spaced apart. I liked it and I liked our cozy table in the corner.
Before we even had a chance to see the menus though, amuses had been set down in front of us. What looked like a cracker turned out to be dehydrated mushroom with a topping of cream cheese, mint powder, cornflowers and something olive. The delicious fried morsel was pigs head topped with violet mustard and an edible flower. It was a good beginning to the meal.
After we selected the three course lunch from the menu, a tray of warm bread rolls was brought to our table: these were (from left to right) whole wheat and ale, pumpernickel and rye, and onion and thyme. We scarfed them down with the whipped butter provided and used them to mop up sauces in the next few dishes.
With each dish, our waiter would come over and rattle off the most impressive sounding list of ingredients – it was almost impossible to keep track of them! For this next bite, we heard pea mousse, slow cooked beef tongue, split peas, calamint oil, aniseed powder, peashoots, pea flower. I’m sure I’ve missed something. It was delicious with the peas and mint going together very well – imagine an upmarket pea soup.
Our three courses then started proper. First was Keen’s dumplings, cream of onion, nasturtiums and liquorice powder. The dumplings had been made of Keen’s cheddar and they sat in the most beautiful cream of onion soup. There was some grilled baby courgette in there as well.
Reg’s duck breast with beans, sweetbreads, sage and corn was excellent, especially those battered sweetbreads. I can imagine food cynics scoffing at the use of foams and powders and whatnot on the dishes but each encapsulated the flavour of one particular ingredient and truly did add to the composition of the dish.
Dessert was Douglas fir, cherries, goat’s milk and pennyroyal. It’s a cliche but I can safely say that this dessert was certainly greater than the sum of its parts. The douglas fir flavour was in the white foam and I could have eaten a bucketful of it. It was served with a cherry cake, a goat’s milk caramel and the pennyroyal leaves. This really was an absolute stunner of a dish.
A little pot of what looked like mustard came after. This turned out to be greengage cream, mead jelly, and natural yoghurt hidden at the bottom. This went down smooth and easy…but wow, was that mead jelly strong!
A little treat came along with our coffees – Homemade Jammie Dodgers! The two buttery crumbly layers were barely held together by its filling of fresh raspberry coulis.
The three course lunch costs £29 or £35 with 2 glasses of wine; also available are menus of 6 or 10 courses and I’m dying to return to go all out with one of those. Service was very friendly and open and extremely knowledgeable. We asked what would happen after the two years was over and was told that Simon Rogan was in talks with a number of people with quite a few potential locations being discussed. I’m very much looking forward to seeing his next restaurant step.
19 Blandford St
London W1U 3DH