By Paul Jurowski – Food writer
I can’t admit to having been to Portobello Road on a gastronomic adventure for quite some time, if at all, but let me begin by saying the trip out to Goode and Wright was certainly worth the mission from work, to arrive in time for our reservation. Tucked away in between a Reggae bar and a railway bridge lies a cosy wood-panelled bistro, staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people, who were happy to discuss the menu and provide us a rundown of their own particular favourites – in case that would have any bearing on our choices!
We were greeted by friendly manager Alex Herb, and we were treated to a fantastic trio of starters. The Devon Crab – avocado – pickled cucumber (£9.00) was creamy, sweet and packed with flavour. I can’t confirm 100% but did get the impression that this was a mix of both the brown and white meat – nevertheless an enjoyable start. The Seared Diver Scallop – smoked bath chap – charred pear (£8.00) worked very well together, the delicate scallop offset by the saltiness of the pigs cheek and fused together with the subtle fruitiness of the pear. We then shared a fantastic Tartare of venison – Tarragon mustard – toast (£9.00) which was smoky, fresh and clean with a sour mustard undertone. This was washed down with a couple of the Jack Rose cocktails which were punchy but not overbearing.
On to the mains and we opted for Steak bavette – frites – Ox cheek & Nduja croquette (£16.50) and the Buttermilk marinated chicken schnitzel – salad (£15.50) and a side of cheesy frites (£3.00). I would guess the butchers cut (or so the bavette used to be known) was flash fried to our medium rare order and came to the table succulent and juicy, the chunky frittes and croquette proving solid dining partners. The chicken schnitzel was full of flavour, though I did feel the schnitzel coating could have been one or two crunches crispier. The cheesy frites were the perfect foil for the chicken and were probably the first finished despite arriving a few minutes after the main dishes.
Committed to the cause, though feeling more than a little full at this point, we moved onto desserts, Dark chocolate mousse – Salt caramel ice cream and Vanilla creme brulee. The mousse was of a perfect consistency and struck the balance between bitter and sweet that so many mousses get wrong. The same can be said for the balance in the ice cream and as a combination I was happy about my choice. My dinner partner was still very happy with his choice of creme brulee, being somewhat of a custard connoisseur.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Goode and Wright – I’ve been eyeing up the Christmas menu already and will be making the bacon knuckle rillettes part of my festive menu.
Goode and Wright can be found at 271 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LR