The Dairy was buzzing as soon as we entered the restaurant. Our table was waiting for us like the last child to be picked for a football match. Happily seated, we almost immediately engaged in a conversation with two ladies seated at the next table. The proximity of the tables is such that the ladies had overheard our hesitation about whether to choose the tasting menu or individual dishes. Unobtrusively, they enthusiastically encouraged us to go for the former. And so we opted for the tasting menu. An excellent decision if I may say so. The chef at The Dairy, Robin Gill, sources the finest seasonal ingredients and even grows a selection of ingredients in his own urban garden. My kind of place. The meal that followed was a graceful procession of small dishes, seven in total, timed perfectly and presented by friendly and smiling staff. Here are a few dishes taken from the tasting menu:
Cod's head rillettes, sour cream, seaweed bread
Chicken liver mousse, smoked bone marrow, salumi
Rooftop carrots, goats cheese, oat granola, buttermilk
Onglet, squash and pumpkin seeds
Truffled Brie de Meaux on toast, Acacia honey
Salted caramel, biscuits, malted barley ice cream
On top of the freshness and seasonality of the ingredients, the kitchen staff also put a lot of thought into the rustic crockery and the delicate presentation on the plate. Each dish was a discovery, a delight. Each staff member we interacted with was smiling, friendly and engaging. They genuinely seemed to be happy being there. They probably had tasted the food before the first guests arrived. The atmosphere was welcoming and lively, a bit too noisy at times, but it made for a truly memorable evening.
One question remains on my mind though: "Why is it called The Diary?" I will have to ask them next time I go.