Oxeye

Battersea, London

CONTINUE READING

Already a member? Log in here

Subscribe to our newsletter to gain access to limited free articles, reviews, news and our weekly newsletter.

* indicates required

The Good Food Guide Membership: Save £100s at Britain's best restaurants for just £1/month for your first three months.

Join for £1/month here

 

Tucked beneath a six-storey block of luxury flats, diminutive Oxeye isn’t quite what you would expect in the heart of newly developed Nine Elms. The first thing you notice is an ice-filled tray laden with many of the ingredients you are about to savour; after that, a thick curtain is pulled back to reveal a compact, dimly lit dining room – an industrial-chic cocoon of grey and black with exposed pipes and concrete, softened by smart wooden tables, puffy handbag stools and fluffy rugs. Sven-Hanson Britt’s cooking is suffused with global influences (particularly from Japan) and there’s a lot of classical technique too – 'you can taste the chef’s time at The Ritz in his sauces,' commented an inspector. The no-choice menu (nominally 13 courses) changes almost entirely week-on-week, raw materials are impeccable, and the resulting dishes are a triumph of flavour and texture. At one end, there is a profusion of sublime canapés: a tartlet of diced, smoked venison with squash purée; a nugget of braised veal tongue in a light tonnato-style sauce; a little daikon wrap of white and brown crabmeat. At the other, fabulous desserts such as a savarin soaked with pink grapefruit syrup, partnered by poached grapefruit segments, citrus sorbet and a final flourish of semi-whipped cream seasoned with sansho pepper. Unusual pairings inject personality into Britt’s cooking – perhaps two raw langoustine tails seasoned with purple shiso and salted radish, served alongside a grilled scarlet prawn head packed with oozing, powerful juices to suck out, plus two big pieces of poached claw meat and a bowl of set langoustine custard topped with an intense bisque and a little nine-month aged caviar. By contrast, the main event is a superb example of top-end European cuisine: roast breast of Anjou pigeon is served with black truffle and an incredibly glossy Armagnac and green peppercorn sauce, while a crumbed fritter of the leg comes with dressed endive leaves and more truffle, and the roasting pan itself is presented with the bird’s offal, carcass and juices (plus a slice of muffin-like bread studded with hazelnuts for mopping up). Is it worth it? Given the quality of the ingredients, absolute attention to detail and genuine sense of care and warmth, it’s a resounding yes. To drink, we tried the wine pairing, which offered a good mix of obscurities and more familiar tipples: the Tickerage 100% Pinot Meunier 2014 (from Blackboys Vineyard in Sussex) was a particularly rare treat.