We are a little obsessed with Masterchef. Is there a better television show? The only downside is that you don’t get to try the food (Deliveroo, there’s a market there). However, there are a huge number of finalists and winners that have gone off to achieve great things and open restaurants so the Masterchef superfans can taste their food.
One of those people is Masterchef 2013 runner up Adam Handling who opened The Frog in June 2016. Now firmly settled into the East London food scene we headed along to try out the tasting menu.
The menu was £50 per person, with the option to add wine matching for £45 per person or beer matching for £30.
The atmosphere is fantastic, with half the restaurant being in an outdoor igloo (warmer than it sounds) and the chefs bringing each dish to the table and talking it through with guests.
The first course was a selection of starters. The first dish on the table was one of my favourites of the entire menu and was, of course, seafood based. The smoked cod with creme fraiche and caviar arrived served like a brandy snap on a bed of shells. The way to a Gills Gal’s heart. It was rich and smokey and left you wanting more. We also tucked into the BBQ beef tartare with chilli, served on a lovage cracker. This was so fresh and vibrant, with the depth of flavour coming from the beef. Again – we could have demolished a platter of them. The final starter to the table was sourdough with The Frog’s chicken butter. Yes that’s right, butter with chicken skin folded through. Ever since my Anchor in the fridge just isn’t cutting it. AMAZING.
Now on to the mains. Starting with some seafood of course; mackerel with BBQ potatoes and yoghurt. The mackerel was perfectly cooked,the potatoes had an amazing depth of smokey flavour and the yoghurt cut through the richness perfectly leaving you with a clean palette. Amazing dish.
Next up on the mains we had celeriac, truffle, yolk, apple and dates. This dish was tasty but it just didn’t reach the same heights as the others on the menu. We felt the yolk should have been runnier, and that the taste of truffle (for us truffle mega fans) was too subtle.
Next up it was back to the seafood; plaice, crab and tomato. The plaice was so delicate, and falling apart. It was served with a crab foam, which I appreciate sounds disgusting but was great. It had the flavour of a quality seafood bisque, and when combined with the green tomato puree was summer in a dish.
Our final main was ‘piggy’, kimchi and cauliflower. One of the most beautiful plates of the night, it was a really refined dish. The kimchi flavour perfectly cut through the richness of the belly pork, and worked really well with the roasted cauliflower.
Cheese, cheese and more cheese
At this point there is still THREE courses to go. You get your money’s worth at the frog that’s for sure! We added three pounds to our menu to be able to have the cheese course, which were CHEESE DOUGHNUT’S. Has there ever been a more delicious way of serving cheese? The dougnuts were filled to the brim with oozy, melted cheese and if that wasn’t enough topped with grated cheese too. You couldn’t have too many of these (your arteries might clog up on the spot) but my god will you want to try one. The most memorable part of the entire meal and really represents the playfulness of the whole restaurant.
Beetroot (oh dear)
Next up was a course called beetroot, beetroot and more beetroot, which as someone who doesn’t like beetroot was quite frankly terrifying. So over to my dining partner to tell you about this as I tried one mouthful and decided not to go back for a second (but it was a hard ask to convert me). He reassured me that the dish actually showcased the sweetness of the beetroot and worked well as a pre dessert to cleanse the palate. I took his word for it.
My final course was the perfect ending. Titled strawberry, yoghurt and watermelon, every aspect of the dish was well executed and bursting with flavour. After all of the food detailed above it was a real miracle worker of a dish; I left feeling content and revitalised, and after having consumed a cheese doughnut I was expecting to feel more like having a lie down.
The Frog is a truly great place to eat. Inventive and playful with good food at its heart we can’t wait to go back, or try out the second Frog due to open in Covent Garden soon!