Following on from Fallow’s recent residency success at Carousel, Marylebone, the sustainable dining fanatics have embarked on a two-month residency at all-day café, restaurant and wine bar, Crispin.
The winter-spring takeover menu from chef double act Jack Croft and Will Murray – who met whilst working at two-Michelin starred restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, focuses on ‘nose to tail’ and ‘root to stem’ cooking: using every part of the vegetable or animal to tackle food waste and elevate often humble produce to new heights.
Crispin is a rather striking restaurant and one we’ve walked past many times, without really knowing what was going on within. All angular glass and zinc, rising from the pavement – by day you’re more likely to find freelancers nursing their coffees, but when the lights go down its natural wines and sharing small plates that become the focus.
Now we know what you’re thinking. Small plates? Again! This time, it’s different. Plates range from £4 to £16 when bought separately BUT why-oh-why would you do that when you could go for their signature ‘one of everything’ instead.
We’ve already mentioned the cracking wine list but if you need a little help making sense of it – Fernando Berry of Otros Vinos is your man. He’ll happily come to the rescue pairing exciting, low intervention wines by the glass with each and every small plate that comes your way – ideal.
Obviously we went ‘all in’ but there were still a couple of decisions to make – burrata or charcuterie? Either way, it will be served with the sexiest chunks of sourdough bread and either extra virgin olive oil or butter. Although burrata is on almost every menu right now, it’s amazing how often restaurants get it wrong. Here it was served at the perfect temperature so we could appreciate all the creamy insides with a glass of cold prosecco.
There honestly wasn’t a dish we didn’t fall hard for and we absolutely loved how it didn’t follow the staid format of veg, fish, meat, sweet. Likewise, wine switched from red to white and back again, keeping things so much more interesting. A total flavour bomb – the hen keema was up first. Insanely well-seasoned mince hid under kohlrabi noodles and was topped with a soft-cooked ‘pullet egg’. This is the first egg a hen will hatch at around 18 weeks and as a result is smaller, sweet and delicate. You don’t see these in the shops, because they’re not big enough, so they often get wasted. Not so at this sustainability-focused residency.
We gushed about it as our waitress removed our licked-clean plate. She promised it got better and she wasn’t wrong. Gnarly chunks of golden fir potatoes came in a buttery white wine cream and a splodge of black garlic so good we’d have happily bought a jar to take home. A plate of multi-coloured winter tomatoes had depth thanks to the smoked beetroot and cedro – a type of thick-skinned lemon. Beautifully coloured chalk stream trout sat on horseradish and bitter monk’s beard. Onto larger plates where a caramelised cauliflower steak was slathered in cheese, brown butter and sprinkled with croutons for texture. More fish, this time a generous piece of hake with crispy skin, perching on large pieces of charred smoky leeks and cavolo nero all swimming in a creamy, oily broth.
Really well paced, we took a short break before devouring our two desserts – earthy Yorkshire rhubarb with sweet white chocolate granola and yoghurt – and the standout – coffee ganache with a pistachio crumble and coconut.
The food, the wine, the atmosphere – these guys have nailed it. You don’t have long to catch them as this particular residency is only running until the 7th March!