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Hide & Seed Restaurant, Putney, London

Pork Belly, Hide & Seed, Putney
I left the comforts of Richmond this week and ventured to another South West riverside neighbourhood, Putney. Word around camp fire is Putney is becoming more gentrified, comparisons with Shoreditch, with cocktail bars and the likes popping up here and there. Having said that, when the cool cats @Zomato offered me a chance to check it out, I jumped at the chance. So, if you want to yourself a favour, walk down Upper Richmond Road, past the usual 'restaurant row' (where the likes of Greg Wallace's restaurant meet its demise) until you come to the Lodge Hotel and resident restaurant Hide and Seek. 

Hide & Seed at The Lodge Hotel, Putney

The Hotel has a modern boutique feel, and the restaurant .... it's more hushed, well, it's basically set in a library, a cosy library at that, decorated with crystal chandeliers. We were right on time for our booking and were offered our choice of seating. I was taken by the feel of the restaurant, it was intimate, dimly lit and a lovely place for an autumn evening. The menu looked traditionally British but with Spanish inference. Perhaps this is influence of the chef Ricardo Soares who is Portuguese and incidentally had trained under Elisher Carter (The Landau).

Pork Belly, Hide & Seed, Putney

To start I ordered the autumn truffled chestnut, wild mushroom and zaatar spiced kale. The chic geek went for his favourite .... Pork Belly. Now I've not one iota of what Zaatar is, it appears to be a mix of middle eastern herbs/spices but for me the dish was mostly a trinity of harmony between sweet, salty and cream. It was in fact perfectly balanced. The mushrooms were served in cream with kale underneath, this gave good body to the dish. The chestnuts were sweet and potato-like in texture. All of this topped with roasted Kale that dissolved in puff of delicious nutty saltiness - careful if you do opt for this one - it may induce dribbling.

Autumn truffled chestnut and wild mushroom, Hide & Seed, Putney

If I could say anything about the crispy pork belly was that it presented beautifully, the meat was portioned up well and was soft - great gamy flavour, but not too much. The Chic Geek mentioned it was up there with some of the best pork belly's he'd had.  But hey, what would he know ;-). It was indulgently good and excellently cooked and served with an amazing smoky consomme, parsnip puree and dots of delicious plum and chilli jam. So far the service had been impeccable, our waitress was confident and explained the menu pre-emptively. We'd not needed to ask for anything, this was the service through the entire sitting.

Sirloin, Hide & Seed, Putney

Two great starters followed by two mains where I feel the chef really hit his stride, the meat was outstanding. We tried the slow cooked 24hr lamb and the 8oz sirloin. It was hard to define in low light photo's but the sirloin was firm and dense with dramatic results in flavour, I suspect from the robata grill. The 24hr lamb had the familiar middle eastern/north african flavours with celeriac cream and a sweet potato puree. There is definite ability here, the flavour intensity in the purees' were stellar.

24hr Lamb, Hide & Seed Putney

To finish we had a trio of chocolate of what was a delectable chocolate ice cream with fresh mint, a parfait of white chocolate with once again strong milk flavour component, and finally a choc nut brownie. All ice creams were hand made and each piece was delicious. We also tried the cheeseboard, a selection of English Stilton, French Brie and English Cheddar. I am normally not too keen on English cheese as they tend to be saturated with salt instead of flavour, but at Hide & Seed they had picked excellently. 

Trio of chocolate tasting & Cheeseboard, Hide & Seed, Putney

Overall Hide & Seed must be one of, if not, Putney's finest restaurant. The menu is under stated, but this adds to the delight and once you've dined here, one feels you must return. I'm honestly not convinced on the faux library setting but for autumn, and the winter months to follow, it will, in my opinion, only just be good enough in comparison to the excellent food served here.


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