While scouting for a guiding job I came across the excellent Mary Sibande exhibition at Somerset House, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Complex and beautiful, it’s the best piece of contemporary art that I’ve seen this year, and that includes going to the Biennale.
At the same time I noticed that there was a new (to me) restaurant in the Navy Office, Bryn Williams. I hadn’t been to this site since the days of the much-missed Admiralty so we returned on a Friday evening to check out BW, lured by the promise of native produce and a focus on fruit and veg.
The rooms are elegant, if not quite as wow as The Admilralty, with excellent photographic still lives of produce on the wall. Past a convivial bar (a good idea) we were seated in the restaurant for an early sitting. The music was too loud for an empty room but less noticeable once a smattering of diners showed up half an hour or so later (I think they turned it down a bit).
The menu delivers on its promise of local produce, with an excellent selection for vegans and veggies. In the mood for a celebration we had a round of cocktails before dinner. My whisky based drink was pretty good but trumped by the old boy’s Pearnod across the table, which was unbelievably good for an anissed hound. An admirable way to start the evening. Meh olives at four and half quid alongside those didn’t match up to the standard of the liquids.
On to the food. Up front I had torched mackerel, and for main sea trout – both were excellent with high quality garnishes but really I could have eaten them twice over. Stodge comes extra and triple cooked chips were ok but to pay extra felt a bit like we were being squeezed when mains are all north of twenty, unless you’re a veggie. A round of cheese with a couple of glasses of port was the perfect end to a very tasty meal.
The service was good – charmingly wonky, I like that. Other people paying these kinds of prices might prefer to cross the road to the Delaunay to seek the standard they’re used to paying for. For myself, I’m not sure I’d walk past Spring to get to Bryn Williams, which is just across the courtyard and in my experience does this kind of thing better.
To see where else I’ve dined (possibly round your way) go to the GoogleMap …
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).