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Heron House, Hale Wharf, London, England, N17 9NF, United Kingdom

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Tottenham is not the first location that one associates with fine dining. This area has been settled for over a millennium, yet despite being mentioned in the Domesday Book, it is fair to say that in the last thousand years this is the first time anyone has tried to put a decent restaurant in the area. Despite its “wharf” location this is not exactly Padstow (the view from our table was over the car park), but the dining room itself is spacious and reasonably attractive, with comfortable leather armchairs. The menu is a mix of British and French, and chef Adebola Adeshin has cooked at Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea. Starters are £4 - £9.50, main courses £12.50 – £24.95, with additional vegetables £3; there is a tasting menu for £45, but only for four people or more.

The list of 39 wines started at just £14, with plenty of options under £25, though the actual margins were still normal restaurant level (gross profit 65-70%). Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc was listed at £25 for a wine that costs about £7 retail, Paesi Tuoi Barola 2004 at £50 for a wine you can pick up for around £21 in the shops, and Penfolds Rawsons Retreat Shiraz 2007 at £24.95 compares to a retail price of around £6. I was impressed that they made the bread from scratch, a choice of two rolls, served warm: sultana and cinnamon and sun-dried tomato, with pleasant texture (15/20).

An amuse-bouche was a cup of mushroom soup. This was made from a mix of woodland wild mushrooms, had quite good depth of flavour and was properly seasoned (14/20). I began with tiger prawns, resting on a risotto cake flavoured with Parmesan and truffle oil, topped with a few leaves and served with a mushroom and sweet chilli sauce. The prawns were not overcooked and the risotto cake was well made, while the chilli influence on the sauce was subtle and did not overwhelm the rest of the dish (14/20). Smoked haddock was poached and served with a baked hen’s egg, topped with a mini salad of herbs and resting in a reduction of white wine (Gavi from Peidmont). Haddock and egg is a natural combination, and the sauce was pleasant, with just a hint of acidity (14/20).

I was impressed with my main course of rolled caramelised Gloucester Old Spot pork belly, served with spiced red cabbage and apple puree. The pork was moist, the crackling just right, the cabbage carefully cooked (15/20). Sea bass, although farmed, was timed well, served with crushed Jerusalem artichokes and ratte potatoes with sautéd baby vegetables. This was accompanied by a confit of shallots and Tuscan olive oil. The vegetables were nicely cooked, and the confit worked well with the fish (14/20). Additional French beans and roast potatoes were nicely cooked.

A pre-dessert of strawberry sorbet was unfortunately over-sweetened (12/20). Dessert was an excellent apple tarte tatin, made from Braeburn apples. The apples here were just caramelised but no more, which is exactly how I like them, and although the pastry was bought-in this was a most enjoyable tatin, though an accompanying vanilla ice cream was not rich enough (15/20). A veil is best drawn across the coffee: espresso was bitter and the cappuccino had not so much a foam as a sludge on top of it (10/20 coffee). Service was extremely attentive and friendly, and all questions about the food were answered authoritatively. Overall the cooking level was between a 14/20 and 15/20 which, given the area, is little short of a miracle.

 

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