Perilla had been on our must-visit list, pretty much since the day it opened and last week we FINALLY made it over there.
Perilla occupies a rather beautiful corner spot on Newington Green, light, bright and airy thanks to the huge windows running the full length of the restaurant, filled with huge leafy plants we can only hope to grow in our wildest millennial home dreams.
They run a reasonably priced set menu (£44) with a wine pairing offered for an additional £28 but we went off piste and ordered off the a la carte menu. It changes daily and is sympathetic to the seasons, with plenty of options for both veggies and pescatarian’s alike.
We told the waiter what we were after and he put it together in a sensible order for us (none of this getting your side salad after everything else business). First up was a great big hunk of still-warm seaweed sourdough served with a generous bowl of seasonal greens & goats yoghurt dip (very Ottolenghi). Bread like this would make it onto my death row menu. This was followed by a bull’s heart tomato (read: bloody massive) which had been stuffed with black olives and sheep’s curd. A delight, we just wish we’d saved a bit of bread to mop up every last bit.
Once that was out of the way we shared the corn and bacon chowder, which was easier to do then it sounds. We were instructed to add a couple of spoonfuls of the loose corn and lardons from the burnt corn husk they’d been encased in and then pour over the langoustine broth, finishing with a squeeze of lemon. Lush.
The hake blew our mind with it’s perfectly white flesh giving way under crisp and chewy skin, swimming in a creamy, green oil. A stuffed Maris Piper was topped with hen of the wood mushrooms (basically the poshest jacket potato you ever did see). Such simple ingredients never tasted so good.
The green salad was probably one of the best we’ve EVER had. Each and every leaf looked as though it had been inspected for perfection, and only made it into said side salad if it passed with flying colours. Once through to the final round it looked as though the chef had gently painted on the olive oil dressing, being sure to coat every square inch of surface area, just before serving to retain optimum crunch. I’ve shocked myself at how excited I could get at a salad, but that’s how good this salad was.
Bottles of wine start at £25 BUT if you’re prepared to spend a little more, you will be richly rewarded – the Laventura Rioja is a case in point, tasting like a delectable white burgundy.
Perilla feels like a restaurant you’d find in stylish Copenhagen, but instead it’s just a little gem of off Green Lanes.