It’s with as much intrigue as anticipation and excitement, that I walk into The Blue Posts for the third time since its reopening late last year
Steered by one of London’s most dynamic duos, Zoë and Layo Paskin (the siblings behind The Palomar and Barbary), this landmark site in Chinatown has been transformed into a debonair drinking and dining destination, with three distinct draws. There’s the (gastro)pub on the ground floor and a cosily-clandestine cocktail lounge upstairs, The Mulwray, both of which I’d happily revisit given half a chance…
On this occasion though, I’m here with my pal (another enthusiastic epicure) to claim two of the eleven coveted spots at Evelyn’s Table – the chef’s table cloistered away in the basement…
The new restaurant constellates around just the one L-shaped bar, surrounding a small open kitchen thrumming with activity.
While neither an open kitchen, nor counter dining are new to London, there’s something about this particularly intimate set-up which has an entrancing effect. Perhaps it’s the hypnotic hiss of oil in the background; the agile coordination with which seasonal ingredients are gracefully gathered into artful assemblies; or the understated aesthetics, embellished by brass light fixtures.
More likely, it’s a combination of all of the above – topped off with the elated feeling of being in-the-know about one of London’s most delicious secrets…
Overseen by Nacho Pinilla (executive chef at The Barbary), the concise menu majors in small plates loosely inspired by Southern European influences.
The daily-changing fish dishes are a headlining act, the stars of which are the fresh catch of the day bought at auction from Cornish suppliers in the Looe Harbour. The options are presented by head chef, Luke Robinson (formerly of The Corner Room and Bonnie Gull), who talks us through the different preparations he has planned for each. The red mullet is an easy choice of mains for Raisa, but first we snaffle a few snacks.
Crusty Hedone sourdough baptised with butter is as simple as it is satisfying, while Jerusalem artichokes are a delight in a smoothly puréed form, served in a crispy skin shell with hazelnuts adding a bit of crunch.
The relatively limited vegetarian options means that I also spring for the violet artichoke “guida” as part of my mains, my initial wariness at ordering from the same family of veggies allayed by the revelatory education that ensues…
Trimmed and deep-fried until it resembles a flower in full bloom, the tips of the leaves are delicately-crisp and crackling with hints of caramel, while the artichoke stem is soft and silkily-tender, offset by a recklessly rich blend of cream onions and bay leaves laced with chive oil.
The truffled tagliatelle is a beauty too, not least for its “less is more” approach which brings together wisps of black truffle, butter and parmesan in the perfect proportions. The result is cajolingly-comforting, with just that right hint of hedonism…
Meanwhile, melt-in-your-mouth parcels of ricotta are paired with a verdant medley of greens, making for a substantive accompaniment to the unimprovably-tender red mullet placed before Raisa.
Of course, if we’re really looking for a reason to revisit – we find it in the glossy form of a Tarte Tatin.
Truly a triumph of the French classic, the pastry base is an impeccably crisp foil to the stickily-sweet and juicy apples piled on top in all their golden-brown glory. A dollop of vanilla ice cream is the crowning finish, leading us to also plump for side scoops of the homemade chocolate ice cream and almond sorbet. Chocolate is the real winner here, imbued with an almost mousse-like texture!
Oh and as for what to drink, there’s a fine selection of wines shining a spotlight on up-and-coming growers; while the cosy cocktail lounge upstairs, The Mulwray, is perfect for sinking back with a tipple or post-dinner digestif… It’s really quite a lovely finish to an arrestingly-unique evening, ensconced within this spirited hide-out in the heart of Chinatown!
Find out more about The Mulwray & the pub at The Blue Posts, here.
Evelyn’s Table is open from 5pm onwards for dinner only. Half of the counter seats can be booked ahead (or you can try your luck as a walk-in!).
More details on their website: https://theblueposts.co.uk | 28 Rupert St, London W1D 6DJ