When it comes to fine dining, I adore the food but feel a little uncomfortable at the often pretentious nature of the atmosphere. I feel like there’s an expectation to look a certain way, know what to do with all the daunting array of cutlery and be on your very best behaviour. There’s one place in particular though, where this isn’t the case – and despite having the most amazing menu and the loveliest staff, it’s a welcoming place for both a date or a friendly get together.
If you’re familiar with my foodie section, you’ll probably know that I’m referring to DSTRKT. Set in the heart of Central London, within walking distance to many tourist attractions, lies the Yaneff tasting menu – an assortment of beautifully crafted dishes which are uniquely shared between the table, setting both a talking point of the evening and a high bar for future restaurant visits.
Having previously only ever visited for a romantic date, I was intrigued to see how the menu would satisfy a table of three of us – each with different likes and dislikes. While my experience had been to be surprised with dishes – compliments of the chef – this time, we perused the extensive menu and selected four dishes each, which would be brought to our table one after the other and shared between all of the diners.
The first course – of any good meal – is without a doubt the cocktail and luckily, DSTRKT don’t disappoint, with a plethora of colourful and creative delights. My personal favourite is the Gummy Bear, however eager to try something new – we opted for ‘Making Waves’, a mix of red currants, lychee liquor, coconut rum, pineapple and orange bitters. As well as tasting amazing – it was pretty photogenic too.
After a few sips, the ‘real’ first course arrived – one I was rather familiar with, as it is a staple at DSTRKT – the bread selection. With a slab of gorgeous salted butter to compliment the different flavours, we tried chilli bread, sourdough, focaccia and seeded before the waiters brought out a slab of meats to accompany them. I know bread is a typical ‘side’ to any good meal but I mean it when I use superlatives here – these baked goods are out of this world amazing. A great starting point to the meal – and it only gets better.
Once the first dish hits the table, the food just keeps on flowing – so it’s difficult to decipher in which order everything arrived. I’ll take you through a few of my favourites though.
Scallops with pea puree and sour apple jelly. The scallops here are always fantastic; cooked to perfection and accompanied beautifully.
Truffle potato gnocchi with cheddar sauce. I can’t even describe to you how delicious this is. Although gnocchi can be very filling, slightly overpowering and rather stodgy at times, this was delicate, flavoursome and amazing. The best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted.
Caviar blini. I’d only ever tried caviar once before coming to DSTRKT and I won’t sugar coat things, it was horrid. However, there’s something about how Yaneff prepares these – complimented by the cream, the caviar bursts gently in your mouth releasing a lovely yet delicate salted flavour. Words don’t really do it justice, but if you ever have the chance to try it – try it here.
Without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite savoury dish here is the grilled broccolini with pomegranate and mozzarella. It sounds like a very simple dish, but I’ve been trying to re-create it ever since and I can’t quite grasp the flavours. The slightly bitter tender stem broccoli is brought up to taste by the sweetness of the pomegranate, complimented by the creamy buffalo mozzarella. Put bluntly, it’s amazing.
Smoked cauliflower, an acquired taste but a stunning accompaniment.
Creamy lobster salad.
The puddings were prepared as a surprise for us by the chef and in true DSTRKT style, were an extravaganza of chocolatey, gooey goodness – complete with a melting chocolate ball, which revealed a warm orangey biscuit centre. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
My favourite dessert – the chocolate soil garden. Brownies make up the soil and the flowers are a mix of white chocolate and strawberry mousse. Mmmmm…
A pina colada style pudding, with deep fried pineapple, coconut ice cream and gooey puddings.
In a nutshell, DSTRKT really is everything I love about fine dining but without making you feel unworthy. The clientele is a mix of Londoners and theatre diners, with families, couples and groups of friends all revelling at the creative culinary delights. It’s honestly my favourite place in London to dine and although dishes are slightly on the pricey side (at around £7 each for a sharing plate), they are oh so worth it. If you’d like to read about my experience at DSTRKT as a place to take your other half, you can take a look here.
DSTRKT, 9 Rupert St, London, W1D 6DG, 020 7317 9120