Pollen Street Social


We went for a special London Restaurant Festival event. Full disclosure David Gandy was present, which may or may not influence this review!


We started things off with cocktails at the bar. We got chatting to Monica, one of the bartenders, and Gareth, Group Bar Manager, and she talked to us about her inspiration for the cocktail list. We loved the Pisco and the Professor cocktail, pisco, fino sherry, lime and flat leaf parsley, inspired by Monica’s travels in Peru. J also adored his Plum Japonaise, vodka, umeshu, lemo, cedarwood and bitters. The cocktail list changes regularly and we are very tempted to come back and work our way through more of Monica’s creations!


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The appetizer was yellowfin tuna tataki with cucumber salad and avocado and ponzu dressing. Ponzu is Japanese citrus based sauce (yes I googled for you!) and the appetizer was lovely, light and refreshing. Just what you want when you know heavier course are around the corner.

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Starter were quail, broad bean, pancetta and sauce diable. The quail was cooked to perfection and this felt like summer on a plate.

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Next course was rack of Romney Marsh lamb with braised shoulder shepherd’s pie. It felt like we’d moved from summer to winter, the shepherd’s pie was hearty and indulgent, I don’t even want to think about how much butter probably went into the mash but it tasted divine. The lamb chops were ruby pink and delicious, but the fat was flabby and chewy. I think either crisp the fat or remove it, my preference would always be to crisp it, fat=flavour. Sadly, I had to leave mine on the plate as it was inedible.

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Finally dessert, white chocolate mousse with salted caramel and shards of caramel hazelnuts. I have to say I don’t really like the trend towards salty/ bitter desserts, for me those flavours can be present but they need be balanced with sweetness, otherwise what’s the point? You might as well have another plate of savoury! I was surprised by this dessert because in the past I’ve found white chocolate to be sickly sweet, but here I think they were so intent on keeping that in check that the balance went the other way and it just wasn’t much fun to eat.

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I much preferred the petit fours which were fun, playful and more crucially sweet! Rapsberry and almond financiers, and yuzu and blackberry mini cones dipped in white chocolate were delicate little mouthfuls with which to finish.

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Just a quick mention about service, we were tucked behind a little corner and we felt a bit forgotten about. On a couple of occasions we asked for more bread or water and it either never came or arrived very much later. However as I mentioned David Gandy was present and it was a full house, so maybe service was not representative of what it normally is.

Twitter: @PollenStSocial @_JasonAtherton @LRF_2014 @LondONtheinside


Pollen Street Social

8/10 Pollen Street, London W1S 1NQ


020 7290 7600

Jason Atherton:


About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
This entry was posted in 2014, Bond Street, Chefs, Jason Atherton, London, London Restaurant Festival, Pollen Street Social, Sauce Communications and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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