Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Laughing Gravy: secret's out.

I hate it when a restaurant calls itself "London's best kept secret". It isn't really is it? Because the only way of keeping a very prominent restaurant on Blackfriars Road a secret is to take out an injunction against everyone who walks past it. Ask Ryan Giggs if superinjunctions work.

It is in fact an excuse to not hire a PR company, hence why I had to pay for this particular meal. Fortunately the Laughing Gravy is excellent value, even if a glance at the menu makes it seem expensive. The starters are all around £8, but could be stretched to a main course, and my chicken liver pate with a delicious sultana jelly also had my salt content for the day and probably the weekend too.

You can order a burger and chips for £10, or a salad for roughly the same price, or you can have their more complicated meals for around £15. I chose the special: scallops with bacon and crispy fried vegetables. The classic dish was given a lift by the lemongrass, which cut through when you least expected it. The portion was huge, but I still managed to eat two helpings of garlic Parmentier potatoes, with emphasis on the garlic.

The red mullet with prawns and samphire looked fantastic too, and the steak...

Oh the steak. Shallots, mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, Madeira sauce and garlic butter. I am kept awake by the fact that I didn't choose it.

For pudding I had an excellent chocolate fondant, baked to a crisp on the outside and so nearly gooey on the inside, but not quite. The salted toffee ice cream on top was brilliant though. It stopped the dish from being overwhelmingly sweet, and made me salivate to the point of embarrassment.

All the dishes had one touch that made it a cut above most British cuisine, certainly south of the river. The unimposing and light decor, huge portions and friendly but awkward staff made for an even more British experience.

Despite their veil of secrecy, the restaurant was busy for an early Friday lunch sitting. At every table suited city workers loosened their ties as the sun beat down through the glass ceiling. Get to the courts Laughing Gravy men, the secret is out.
154 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8EN
020 7998 1707

Laughing Gravy on Urbanspoon   Square Meal

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