Medlar // Chelsea // London

Medlar is a neighbourhood restaurant in Chelsea, cooking in a French classical style. Co-owned by Joe Mercer Nairne and David O’Connor (both of former Michelin fame), it has a contemporary décor with a cosy and semi casual feel, and unlike most restaurants, you’ll only be offered a prix-fixe menu – but one with a good number of choices.

The fish offering is excellent at Medlar; the char-grilled red mullet with tomato is not short on quality, with its seasoning spot-on. The smoked mackerel and aubergine caviar delivers great layers of flavours and textures, with a lovely earthy taste. The salmoriglio completes the dish with more robust Mediterranean flavours without knocking-out the delicate essence of the red mullet.

Though, the under blade fillet with snails, salad, triple-cooked chips and Béarnaise is a bit of a questionable dish. While all the elements are nicely cooked, you’ll find it’s more of a brasserie offering than a fine-dining main course.

The crème chiboust with strawberries and honeycomb is a refreshing dessert with nice crisp and clean flavours coming from the fresh strawberries. The pastry is well-made and not too heavy with the honeycomb adding a hint of sweetness. This is a well-constructed classic dessert and truly a delight on a hot summer’s day.

Both the kitchen and service have a few issues that need to be addressed. Finger marks weren’t properly wiped-off plates and the waiter who served the cheese didn’t clean the knife before cutting the next cheese, which result in cross contamination. Classical cooking shouldn’t warrant any mistakes and should be close to perfection. Medlar just isn’t quite at that level.

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