|In a word: Delicious|
|Food: Really tasty dishes with a focus on seasonal, local and ethically sourced produce. Deservedly in Opentable’s top 100 restaurants in the UK for 2014|
|Service: Effective although a little bit stretched at time|
|Presentation: Nice simple décor, great colour palette, with pretty things to catch your eye. Simple unfussy food styling|
|Ambience: When it’s busy, it’s really buzzy…great for a boozy supper with friends, not so for a romantic meal for two where you struggle to hear each other talk|
|Location: A 3 minute walk from Kings Cross station. The restaurant helping to lift the reputation of Caledonian Road, the southern end at least!|
|Value for money: Not too bad at just under £40 a head for two courses of really delicious food and a glass of wine. However, I’m still miffed at paying £14 for an entrée-sized Winter Salad, which has left an unpleasant taste in my mind|
|Worth a visit?: Yes, for the delicious local and ethically sourced food and booze, just chose wisely!|
TED Restaurant at the King’s Cross end of Caledonian Road is a great new-ish offering in the centre of town. Caledonian Road doesn’t have the greatest of reputations food-wise, however, It’s just a stones throw from King’s Cross station and on the better end of the road where cute little café’s have been popping up in recent years; Drink, Shop, Do and Pattern Cafe.
The focus on sourcing local and ethical produce for all their dishes landed TED Restaurant on my radar. TED stands for Think, Eat, Drink, and I’m sure is a nod in the direction of the thought provoking TED Talks. The idea behind TED comes from Jamie Grainger-Smith, the restaurateur with fingers in (or previously in) delicious pies across London including Fifteen and River Café.
Jamie runs Think.Eat.Drink a consultancy service to guide companies on taking steps to go a little bit greener and a little bit more local, and also the TED Community which aims to bring together like-minded companies to show case their products and services. This is some seriously good stuff for the good of the British food industry and us as consumers.
TED goes a little bit further than your standard thoughtful eatery and a la (the likes of) Le Pain Quotidien has kitted their restaurant out in sustainable, up cycled and eco fixtures and fittings all installed by contractors boasting eco credentials.
Now, onto the important stuff…
The food here really is delicious – full of flavour from very English ingredients and creative – it’s easy to see why they’ve quickly appeared in Opentable’s top 100 restaurants list for 2014 compiled from diner’s reviews. The menu changes seasonally and doesn’t have a huge selection for vegetarians with just a gnocchi option on the mains. You’ll have no problem if you’re pescatarian – there is a fish option on the standard menu and a fish of the day special.
I loved the crab with samphire and grapefruit on toasted sourdough, the contrast between flavours was perfectly balanced – not overpoweringly crabby, green and not too zesty.
The mushroom and chestnut soup was one of the best soups my fellow diner had ever tasted – again, a well flavoured combination of those seasonal gems; chestnuts and mushrooms, left whole and chunky bobbing around in the thick broth with a dollop of crème fraîche. A proper hearty winter starter that felt wholesome, nourishing and very satisfying.
The Cornish fish of the day served on roasted winter veg, chestnuts and mushrooms was again delicious, a little on the small size but filling after a main. The fish was cooked just perfectly for me. If I hadn’t had a starter or the sides of purple sprouting broccoli and chipped potatoes, I might have been left want more!
Yet another great dish for my fellow dinner, the gnocchi with those seasonal mushrooms, chunks of roasted squash, greens and a creamy sauce, was filling and hearty, perfectly seasonal for mid-winter.
On our second visit to TED (no photos this time i’m afraid), we opted for exactly the same starters mainly because they were so good the first time round, but also because there weren’t really other veg or fish options to chose from.
On this occasion, the soup turned up warm rather than piping hot and the crab on sourdough came on just one slice of toast opposed to the two that came out first time. A little bit disappointing, although you could see that they were very busy with only two visible waiting staff to serve.
For our mains we both decided to go for the Winter Salad after assurance from the waitress that they would be a decent sized serving. What turned up was a small heap of roasted veg and smudge of veg puree, again, beautifully cook and very delicious but it was no bigger than a starter, in fact it might even have been smaller than a side!
If I’d not had the starter, I’d have complained to the staff about the salad, instead we grumbled, paid the bill and left with a sour taste in our mouths…stiff upper lip Brit and all that. It felt like a bit of a let-down after our wonderful first visit.
I thought the service was effective and pleasant, nothing to be blown away by and a little bit stretched at times.
The restaurant itself is simple yet stylish – with a nice colour palette of oranges and blue, and some rather cool bits and bobs to look at – lots of glass jars filled with interesting things and some rather beautiful and funky lighting – the coloured glass jars and blowtorch chandelier above the stairs.
Value for money:
Fish of the day £16, gnocchi £15, sides £3.20 – more than happy with these prices. However, in the case of the Winter Salad main they’ve got it wrong – £14 for a side serve of roasted veggies and smudge of veg puree.
My advice, as a one off, do it and be wowed – the food is British local and seasonal and damn tasty, the setting beautiful and it’s generally well priced.
For me, the second visit was just not as rock-your-socks-off; the food just wasn’t as good as the first visit and we left feeling a bit miffed after Winter Salad-gate. I guess they were having a bad day and had run out of veggies!
One thing that I do think TED has done brilliantly, aside from the genuinely delicious food, is helping to bring and keep local British food in the spotlight and onto the radars of Joe public. Keep up the good work guys and iron out those teething issues to put TED Restaurant into the top 10 London restaurants!
UPDATE: TED Restaurant is now closed; I walked past the other day and there is a sign on the door saying closed until further notice. Such a shame.