address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8QH
telephone: 020 7326 0643
We have visited Shrub and Shutter [see here and here] on many occasions, mainly for the cocktails and some appetizers. But on this occasion we went the whole hog and had an early impromptu dinner (book if you decide to go as they just squeezed us in). It doesn’t have a big sign, so just keep walking on Coldharbour Lane after Brixton Village and it is on the left hand side near a Fish and Chip shop and Okan Ramen. Although the frontage is narrow it stretches back into a reasonable sized restaurant with a very eclectic feel – pictures, blackboards and a stuffed fox. Opened by two entrepreneurs Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza, known for their mixology -they now have a pop-up looking after the food. Chris Boustead & Tomas Bidois cook modern British dishes using seasonal produce and for the whole menu you need to get in early as they run out of some items.
We arrived inordinately early (6.00pm on Friday) and ordered two classics – dry Martini and a Manhattan to start the weekend. I don’t usually criticise the cocktails but the Martini was a bit too much like a lemon sherbet. I would rather have a very cold, very dry, classic Martini with a twist. But the waiters are very attentive and offered to put it in the fridge to keep it icy cold when I didn’t gulp it down before the food.
The menu covers sharing small plates but we couldn’t be asked to make choices, so we had the six course tasting menu.
Course number 1consisted of 4 dishes. A snuff box – mixed nuts with chili (some caramelised), dried corn, and homemade Bombay mix in a box and presented warm. These have a kick when you least expect it – perfect as a start but perhaps not with a cocktail as you can’t taste much afterwards. Sour dough comes with charcoal infused butter. I don’t get this idea at all – too much and it becomes gritty and too little and you can’t taste anything although spreading black cream on bread provides theatre. We were divided on this one – I thought salt in the butter would help or even some sprinkled on top. The two leek beignets were crispy and filled with a lovely sauce and on top of some leek remoulade. This was a big hit and we wished for more. Next was homemade jerky – some with chili and the other sweeter. Again we are divided. It was certainly good for the jaw and added some texture but I was never a fan so it would have been almost impossible to impress me.
Course number 2 was a bagna cuda – slow cooked egg yolk, parsley and dipping bread. We liked this but not as much as the beignets.
Course number 3 was a mussel dish with soft celeriac, chestnuts and lardo in a dashi broth. The mussels and the celeriac were wonderful – definitely enough to share.
Course number 4 was a choice (veggie, meat or fish) and, despite vegan January, we didn’t choose the veggie option. I chose Bream, roasted kohlrabi, thin apple slices, apple sauce and caviar to add a bit of salt. I wasn’t convinced by combination of the sweet sauce and the bream, but the fish was perfect. The meat dish was duck which was superb. The breast was melt in the mouth and the confit leg was salty enough but not over the top. It came with a salt baked pear and pine nuts – we cleaned the plate (well done chefs B&B).
The final dessert was to share and we fell on it with abandon and so do not have any photos. It is described as parsnip, white chocolate and passionfruit. The parsnip was dried in thin strips (they need to make sure it arrives crisp), the white chocolate was a thick sauce and the passionfruit cut through all the sweetness.
So this meal had some highs and lows but we were never disappointed and it was all very interesting. I can stay in for egg and chips so this was what was wanted. We had a glass of wine each and water came free. The whole bill came to 112.51 including service and £30 worth of booze.