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Kitty Fisher's in London

Rating: 90.
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The heydays of "turning tricks" in Mayfair's Shepherd Market are long gone, but the area is still associated with prostitutes and it is continues to be referred to as Mayfair's red-light district. If you type "Shepherd Market" in the Google search box, Google will suggest adding "prostitute", "opening hours" and "restaurant", three words that since December 2014 will lead you to Kitty Fisher's, a two-story wood grill restaurant named after notorious 18th century courtesan Kitty Fisher. 

(photo: courtesy of Kitty Fisher's)

The restaurant was founded by Oliver Milburn, Tom Mullion and Tim Steel. Behind the stove and wood grill are head chef Tomos Parry and sous-chef Chris Leach. Tomos Parry previously worked at Climpson's Arch in London's Hackney and is also the winner of the 2014 Young British Foodies "Chef" award. 

Kitty Fisher's is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday (no lunch on Saturday) and the restaurant offers an a la carte menu which features snacks (£3.00-£8.00), starters (£9.00-£15.50), mains (£18.50-£19.00) and desserts (£6.00-£6.50), all medium-sized. If available, you can also order their signature Galician beef (£80 for two). I had lunch with my husband and a friend at Kitty Fisher's on Friday 17 July 2015.

From the snack section we had ordered some grilled bread and anchovies on toast. The bread came with butter, dusted with burnt onion powder. A lovely combination, the burnt onion powder having a nice hint of rosemary. Equally lovely were the anchovies on toast.


My first course was gazpacho upgraded with fresh and succulent Cornish crab meat, a few flame-kissed cherry tomatoes, and cubes of watermelon and cucumber. Well-made gazpacho that had good sweetness to it and some nice heat in the aftertaste. Lovely crunch coming from the watermelon and cucumber and the tomatoes added a wonderful touch of smokiness and depth. A delightful dish that was full of flavour.

Next up was beef tartare on grilled toast sprinkled with a mixture of dried black olives and onion seeds, and served with some peppery watercress. The tartare was marvellously seasoned with fresh horseradish, tomato and red pepper, making for a rather wet but exceptionally delicious and smooth beef tartare with a lovely long aftertaste. This was the kind of dish that is so good that you don't want it to end. 

As a main course, my husband and I shared the Galician beef (from a 12-year old dairy cow). Beautifully cooked, incredibly flavoursome beef with a rare, but not raw cuisson, tasty fat and a lovely light caramelisation. With the beef came a side dish of grilled onions, pickled walnuts, some wilted spinach, and potatoes covered with mustard and melted Tunworth cheese. A very pleasing combination that complemented the beef nicely.

Dessert was grilled strawberries served with some delicious rice pudding and chopped caramelised cashews. The grilling had made the strawberries wonderfully juicy and sweet, but at the same time it also added a lovely savoury touch. 

When I arrived at Kitty Fisher's I had no idea what to expect. For starters, I hadn't expected a small basement dining room with just 16 covers and I still don't know how they've managed to squeeze in that kitchen with its wood grill (custom made by the London Log Company). The room did make me feel a tiny bit claustrophobic at first, but I snapped out of that state as soon as the first dishes arrived. The food at Kitty Fisher's is not too complicated, but it certainly is accomplished, energetic, with an attractive rough edge, and it delivered satisfaction in spades.  

The team of Kitty Fisher's has brought some rock-and-roll to Mayfair, an area that is traditionally dominated by fine dining restaurants. The restaurant has been hugely popular in its first six months of opening, and no wonder, because Kitty Fisher's is exemplary for what is so thrilling about casual dining in London today. 

Posted 25-08-2015


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