This restaurant opened in May 2019, the first solo venture for Anna Haugh. Ms Haugh was previous head chef at Bob Bob Ricard as well at Gordon Ramsay’s Battersea restaurant London House, and had previously worked at Pied a Terre. The name of the restaurant refers to Myrtle Allen, the first Irish woman to win a Michelin star way back in 1975 for The Yeats Room in County Cork. Myrtle is in a quiet Chelsea street and has a pleasant ground floor dining room with good natural light. There was a three-course lunch menu at £35 as well as an a la carte choice.
The wine list had 44 bottles ranging in price from £28 to £115, with a median price of £58. Labels included Weingut Welgand Pinot Noir Rose Franken at £38.50 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £8.40, Diego Conterno Nebbiolo d'Alba Baluma 2016 at £50 compared to its retail price of £14, and Domaine Lafarge-Vial Chiroubles 2014 at £76 for a wine that will set you back £28 in a shop. Mark-up levels average a little over 3.3 times retail, which is pretty high even by the standards of Chelsea. It was interesting to see an unusually high proportion of wines from Germany and Austria. I happened to be in Vienna last week and drank some excellent wine, and I have always loved German Rieslings, yet these countries remain oddly neglected on UK winelists.
There was an amuse-bouche of chicken liver parfait with a little crisp. There was also good Irish soda bread that was made from scratch in the kitchen. The parfait had smooth texture but for me could have greater intensity of flavour (13/20). My first course was pig head croquette with pickled shallots and sauce “gribiche”. The latter is a sauce made by emulsifying hard-boiled egg yolks and mustard with a neutral oil and finished with herbs and chopped pickled cucumbers. This was a good foil to the croquettes, which had a crisp exterior and plenty of flavour (14/20).
My main course was oat-crusted fishcake topped with a layer of radishes and with smoked mackerel veloute poured over it at the table. The fishcake had plenty of flavour, was accurately seasoned and worked well with the sauce (14/20). My experienced dining companion, who knows a thing or two about meat, also enjoyed his Irish beef with peas and girolles. Spring greens as a side dish were carefully cooked.
Passion fruit posset was a lovely, refreshing dessert. Posset is a deceptively simple dessert, involving just double cream, sugar and your choice of fruit. Yet actually getting it to set properly and achieving the right balance between the sugar and the acidity of the fruit is not trivial. Here it was spot on (15/20).
Coffee was from a Nespresso machine and was adequate. Service was good and the bill came to £49 per person with just water to drink. If you ordered a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost might be around £65 per person all in. Myrtle was a very pleasant experience, with an appealing menu and well executed dishes; I would be happy to return.