A Delightful Dig
On a chilly January evening, it was decided by a gruesome twosome that a trip to The Shed was in order. The adventurous duo set out for Notting Hill with bucket and spade in hand (loose translation for phone, money and keys) and tumbled into the rustic, cosy embrace of The Shed.
The Shed is the brainchild of the country raised Gladwin brothers, Richard - The Manager, Oliver - The Chef and Gregory - The Farmer. Having already visited Rabbit, The Shed's sister site, it wasn't a difficult choice of dinner spot and the pair knew they were in for a treat or two.
Opened in 2012, the restaurant is well settled in its stride and maintains a relaxed confidence of somewhere that knows just how damned great it is. Yet behind this is a gentle modesty from the trio of gents who simply love what they have created. We love it too guys!
Our little table was soon piled high with drinks and mouthfuls to sustain the (not so) treacherous journey through the menu as we absorbed the buzz and chatter of the restaurant.
Scratching and apple, brown crab bomb, mushroom marmite and egg confit and a beetroot crisp with goats cheese and pear jam.
This is certainly not your run of the mill, tumble down, crusty decaying garden shed. Oh no. This here shed is filled with tricks, trinkets, bits and bobs that would get green fingers twitching and taste buds tingling.
Every glance creates a picture, as barrows, wheels, antlers and tools hang from the ceilings and walls. Waitresses model check shirts and jeans with leather carpenters' belts to house their order pads and pencils and skip from table to table with an infectious joviality. It is impossible not to grin when you're in this sort of atmosphere and looking around, there were no sour mouths in sight.
The food just so happens to also be quite spectacular. Clever combinations of fresh fruit and colourful veg teamed with tender mouthfuls of British meat and game create explosively flavoursome dishes. Presented with an artists palate-esque attitude, it's hard to fault the creative love and attention that shines through even the most basic of ingredients.
The menu itself consists of a selection of small(ish) plates separated into 'slow cooking' and 'fast cooking' and we were advised to pick a couple from each to share (ranging from £6.50 - £12). This here is my kind of dining, a little bit of everything!
On Richard's recommendation we selected the beetroot cured trout with tempura pickled onion and sorrel which was rustically plonked on a rustic board atop our rustic table and inhaled ... rustically.
Veal Patties with swede and truffle packed a punch while the Sussex veal, celeriac, almonds bone marrow pesto and lovage was a marriage in the kitchen and disappeared just as quickly. Smooth grilled venison, squash, honey, sunflower seeds and mint was an equally beautiful partnership.
With each dish, there was a carefully balanced combination of creamy, crunch and chew (the all important three c's and my new taste test)!
While I was visiting this fine establishment for the first time, the same can't be said for my frequent flyer partner in crime who had already eaten here on a number of occasions. So, according to expertise that proved completely reliable, the dish to end all dishes in this instance were the lamb chips with parsley, lemon and Harissa. (Please ignore the awfully dark photo, the thought was there but my stomach wasn't prepared to be patient .. and it had good reason)!
Mustn't forget the candle brick combo, another rustic fail safe.
And finally for dessert, a pear and white chocolate mousse with hazelnut sherbet and a nostalgic chocolate coated honeycomb with mascarpone and tarragon sugar. Sorry Crunchie Bar, you've been knocked right off the playing field!
Our meal was almost at an end, just enough time for a chat and snap with the master of the mill; the lovely Richard Gladwin, set in front of a dangerously attractive background wheel.
For a shed load more chat, head to a cheeky little interview with the Gladwin brothers over at the fabulous new all things food site - Try This For.