in the City: "10" makes a big splash
Cutler's Gardens Arcade
In the manner of Mrs Beeton, first catch
your restaurateur, in this case Terry
Pullen, a city entrepreneur
and partner in J. Rothschild. Then take
keen young chef like Richard Ross ex
The Lanesborough and The Ivy and mix well. Carefully fold in a well known and
restaurant designer - Julyan Wickham,
responsible for Harvey Nic's
Fifth Floor, Bank and the former Le
Champenoise - bake together in a hot oven and what do you get? Two
sooty businessmen and a very sweaty chef? No, a smashing new restaurant in the
City, the place that's suddenly
sprouting serious restaurants - at long last!
"10" has been reborn out of the
earlier Le Champenoise, whose brilliant murals by Wickham have been added
to by the artist himself. There's a marvellous new one that depicts the terrace
of a hotel looking over what must surely be one of the Italian lakes. The
effect is breathtaking, and it certainly helps to recharge the batteries
when you go in for lunch after a dreary morning squinting at the dealing
screens. (Not that I would know anything about such a vulgar occupation!
There's a great big bar, with people
just enjoying a drink or perhaps eating a light lunch of a few fines claires French
oysters or double fried eggs on bubble and squeak (£6.75).
The Carte is large and has just
about something for everyone. But whether it's a light snack or a more extensively
prepared gourmet dish, it struck me that intelligent and creative culinary
thinking had gone into the planning and design. For starters we tried the Caramelised
Onion Tart (£6.50), which came on very crunchy pastry, the flavours
of the slow cooked onion softened and complemented by a rich filling of cream
and Gruyère cheese - delicious! We also strongly approved of the Artichoke
ravioli (£8.50 or £13/50 for a main course portion). The delicate
little pasta parcels were filled with the purée of artichokes in a
Mediterranean sauce of tomatoes, herbs and olive oil.
There is a terrific selection of
fish dishes, ranging from the simple but classic, like Char-grilled Dover
Sole (£22.50) or Fish Cake (£11.75) made from a base
of poached salmon, to Seared pepper crusted tuna with spiced corn fritters
and mango salsa (£15.50) or Tempura Lobster and chips (£19.50).
Now that's posh fish 'n' chips for you!
Meat eaters suffer no want of provender
at 10. I tucked into a fabulous slow cooked ham knuckle (£13.50) that
would have fed a family for several days. The meat was tender and glutinous
and fell off the bone with voluptuous ease. I loved its spicy ginger and
soy coating and also the well browned potato wedges. A breast of cornfed
chicken (£11.25) was perfectly chargrilled and came on a bed of roasted
aubergines with a colourful red splash of tomato concasse.
All the dishes were well presented
with an arresting sense of colour and contrast, the various components well
differentiated yet harmonious. The wine list is modern and wide ranging and
starts at £11.50 but with good value New World wines like the Chilean Casa
Lapostolle for £16.25. For £24.25 you could enjoy a bottle
of the very reliable Medoc Cru Bourgeois Chateau Graysac 1996.
I'm glad to see so many chefs cooking
traditional English puddings, like Summer Pudding and Apple Crumble. Actually,
the apple crumble was a tiny bit too refined. The best ones have a certain
amount of the granny factor, which is something ineffably more than just
the Granny Smith apples. There's a rough and ready perfection about certain
home cooked things that are like lilies that require no further gilding.
But I wouldn't press this minor criticism too far because what I experienced
from Richard Ross's kitchen was a real delight. And the service was friendly,
slick and quick. By the way, the puddings cost round about a fiver.
One of London's current great bargains
has to be the special dinner menu at "10". In the City everything is on its
head. The lunch trade is the thing, and dinner is the Cinderella. Thus for £15.95
at dinner, you could have had all three dishes I tried at lunch, or amongst
other things say, asparagus and shaved parmesan followed by the fish cake.
A baked lemon tart would be a fitting finale.
Dine Online highly recommends "10"
"10" is at 10 Cutler's Gardens
Arcade, Devonshire Square EC2
Tel: 020 7283 7888
Open Monday - Friday 11.30am to last orders at 9.30pm
Directions: "10" is about two
minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station.