Friday 1 February 2013

Gail's Kitchen

Spinach rotola with ricotta and wild mushroom 
Finding a reasonably priced and imaginative eating out spot that doesn't ride the whole Americana wave of burgers and hot dogs is far from easy in central London, especially one that delivers a range of vegetarian dishes not limited to the dreaded stuffed pepper or risotto kind.  That is why I was rather excited to hear that Gail's, known in London for their small chain of bakeries, daily baking some of the best bread in town (their brioche is second to none), were opening their first proper restaurant focusing on exactly these baked goods but adapting them for a range of tasty tapas style plates. As born and bred German ( I after all lived there for 12 years) I know and love good bread, something that is incredibly hard to come by in England, but Gail's, borrowing from a range of different cuisine, be it their cheesy interpretation of the Swiss raclette or an Italian inspired taleggio and truffle toasty, completely delivers, each bread authentic and adding a real depth of  flavour to each dish. So many of the small plates sounded amazing and made it hard to chose just three- meat, fish and vegetarian options all equally appealing and able to cater for every taste. Of course as established bakery I had very high expectations for the desserts Gail's was going to serve up and boy did they not disappoint. In actual fact despite the main meal being great the dessert was the real highlight of the evening and would make me come back solely to try the rest of the the amazing sounding options that ultimately lost out to the cookies and milk this time (it was  a tough call between them and the brioche ice cream sandwich or apple meringue pie). Cookies and milk may sound a little odd as dessert in a restaurant but at Gail's these cookies are something quite special. Freshly baked after your order they may take a little while to reach your table but when the three gooey, hot  and still slightly raw chocolate chip cookies do arrive on a wooden board, served with a tiny milk bottle and striped straw I defy anyone not to drool over this impeccably presented, simple yet perfectly executed dessert. Gail's may not break the boundaries with new dishes but what it does do is serve up classic, timeless dishes brilliantly in a clean and unpretentious environment. Restaurants like this should be cherished, sticking to what they know best Gail's is a great addition to London's restaurant scene that I hope will stick around for some time to come.  
Polenta chips with gorgonzola
Cookies & Milk-