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Daffodil Mulligan

70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ, United Kingdom

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Daffodil Mulligan opened in December 2019, backed by Richard Corrigan (of Bentleys and Corrigan Mayfair) and on the site of the now closed Nuala. There is an upstairs bar in addition to the ground floor dining room. The name comes from the daughter of a fictional Irish street seller Biddy Mulligan (a music hall creation of the 1930s), but the menu is not Irish themed, with offerings such as salt chilli fried chicken and lamb cooked over embers with ricotta and shepherd’s pie croquette. The head chef is Simon Merrick, a former Restaurant Story and Corrigans Mayfair sous chef. The menu offers various small plates, raw food and large plates, with Bentley’s bread at £2.50 and the small plates mostly £9 £14, with main courses varying quite widely in price e.g. venison was £31.50.

The wine list had 53 full bottles and ranged in price from £30 to £198, with a median price of £67 and an average markup to retail price of 3.2 times, which is not the worst in London but is hardly cheap either. Sample references were Naciente Pinot Noir from Casablanca in Chile 2018 at £34 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Radford Dale Chardonnay 2018 at £50 compared to its retail price of £17, and Chateau Larmande Grand Cru Classe 2011 at £98 for a wine that will set you back £36 in the high street. For those with the means there was Coffinet-Duvernay ‘Dent de Chien’ Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chardonnay 2016 at £182 compared to its retail price of £59, and Monte Dall’Ora Stropa Amarone della Valpolicella Corvina Blend 2011 at £198 for a wine whose current market value is £82. Corkage was £30.

We tried a few of the small plate options. I was least impressed with crisp salsify served with confit garlic, brown butter and Parmesan. This was harmless enough but the salsify was very much on the al dente side, and the brown butter didn’t enliven it greatly (12/20). Better was bacon and onion potato cake topped with haddock and horseradish and garnished with herbs. This was very enjoyable, the strong flavour of the haddock easily able to cope with the bacon and the nicely controlled spice of the horseradish, the cake perhaps a tad overcooked (13/20). Even nicer was a well judged yellowfin tuna tartare, flavoured with citrus, lychee and mint. The tuna was good quality and the acidity of the lychee and the citrus nicely cut through the richness of the tuna (14/20).

Fire oven squid came with mussels, chorizo, feta and a parsley broth. The squid was tender and the broth had plenty of flavour, the mussels being nicely cooked and the combination of flavours working well together (13/20). A pearl parley “risotto” came with squash, ricotta and a walnut pesto. The texture of the pearl barley was good and the pesto had plenty of pine nut flavour, the walnuts adding a textural contrast (14/20). I also enjoyed venison on a bed of pearly barley with squash and cocoa nibs, the venison cooked quite rare and combining nicely with the other elements (14/20) . On the side, cavolo nero with chilli and garlic was lightly cooked, and made pleasantly lively with the touch of spice (14/20). Chips were also very good, crisp and nicely cooked through. A “lemon cream” dessert was effectively a syllabub, set nicely, with good acidity and topped with fruit: a simple but enjoyable dessert (13/20).

Service was friendly and capable. The bill came to £63 a head for the food and service; we didn't order any wine. If you shared a modest bottle of wine and a little less food that we did then a typical cost per person might come to around £70. Overall Daffodil Mulligan was very enjoyable, offering an appealing menu of well executed food at fair prices. It is easy to see why it is already a popular venue.

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