You come to Brat to get the Turbot. The place is even named after its hero ingredient (it means turbot in old english colloquialism). So in reality this review could be about three sentences about that buttery soft turbot, crispy around the edges, falling off the bone and doused in butter. Howeve,r Brat offers more than its namesake.
Located in Redchurch Street above the Smoking Goat (what an address for good food) the decor is pretty old school with lots of wood panelling – it has the feel of a classic restaurant that has been serving hungry punters for years. At the front of the room is the open kitchen where you can see the chefs hard at work, and see the dishes as they go out. We grabbed a table next to this and it certainly makes you hungry!
The best thing I have put in my mouth this year
We kicked things off with a couple of the small plates: smoked cods roe on sourdough with a side of grilled peas. I think the smoked cods roe might be in my death row meal. It was, to quote our fellow diner, “the best thing I have put in my mouth this year”. Full of flavour, moreish and served on perfectly baked sourdough. What more could you ask for?A lot according to the diner who sat next to our table. On the waitresses recommendation he ordered the dish also, however promptly sent it back. He said that it had no flavour, he didn’t like the bread and he couldn’t taste the herbs on top. I genuinely nearly asked him to just pass it over to us. The waitress dealt with this situation so well and asked for genuine feedback on the dish, offered for it to be remade and an alternative but he wasn’t having any of it. I still well up when I think of that wasted cods roe. The peas were fresh, summery and the perfect accompaniment to the rich dish.
On another menu it would probably be the stand out dish, but on this menu it fades into the background
Next up were the starters and we ordered soused red mullet, along with spider crab and cabbage. The mullet was soft, falling apart and came alongside a lightly pickled selection of vegetables. The crab was a huge plate and was tasty, however didn’t offer the same wow factor as the other dishes in our opinion. On another menu it would probably be the stand out dish, but on this menu it fades into the background. When the mullet arrived our fellow diner was in the bathroom so the chef immediately came over and collected it. When I asked why he responded that he wanted us to enjoy the dish at its best so he would happily remake it and serve it when we were both seated – its this extra mile that really makes Brat stand head and shoulders above other restaurants.
Thank god it’s good
Now the star of the show – that whole turbot. The restaurant is named after it for gods sake, thank god its good. We got the small one and it was still more than enough for two. Flaking away from the bone with crispy edges to add a bit of texture it truly was perfect. Alongside it we went for smoked potatoes (GET THEM) and tomatoes, which were a welcome fresh hit.
Throughout the meal we asked the waitress for her wine recommendations and everyone was spot on, and often a wine that we hadn’t tried before. It’s definitely worth going with this approach and seeing what they suggest as the tipple to try with your dish.
Overall Brat well and truly lives up its namesake, and is worth the hype. I would go again and order the turbot and sides, as well as a couple of the small plates and be more than happy. Now, off to dream of that cods roe…