I was invited to join my friend Fiona Maclean of the online London lifestyle site London-Unattached, to try out the new menu at The Endurance, at the end of Berwick Street, Soho. Having worked in Soho many years ago I know how difficult it is to find a good pub/eatery so I was very interested to see what was on offer.
The interior of The Endurance is in traditional pub style, dark wood floor and tables laid out away from the bar area. It all looked very traditional English bar, friendly and welcoming. Every table was marked by a unique flower pot of living herbs which reinforced the market fresh nature of the food being served.
The menu consists of a range of food plates from £2 to £7, and you can mix and match dishes to give you a very nice lunch at a very affordable price. We ordered a bottle of the Sollazzo Premio Pinot Grigio 2011 from the suggested wines off the menu, which duly arrived in a nice ice bucket. It was light enough not to obscure the food and fresh enough to please the palette.
Given the range of snacks we decided to let the chefs choose a random selection of what they would recommend. As such the following pictured dishes were served up to us: Firstly, a large plate of home made wholemeal bread and home made butter was put before us. The concept of home made butter was interesting; it had the taste of a slightly scented and creamy vanilla butter.
Then followed a plate of cured bream, watercress and pickled radishes, as well a plate of nitro-sponge, cod’s roe and sea lettuce, and a plate of Chicken skins in red gooseberry powder.
The sea bream was perfect in both texture and taste, more like scallop than fish, and complimented by the tartness of the pickled raddish which just amplified the flavour. The white wine went well with the bream. The nitro sponge was an open fluffy toasted bread, and although it tasted fine it was pretty much the same as crusty bread with taramasalata.
The chicken skins could be thought of as upmarket pork scratchings; light and tasty without the fat. A very nice bar snack I would add.
Then the plate of 17 hour pork belly with baby gem arrived, along with a plate of hay potatoes in marjoram yoghurt. The pork aroma was subtle and pleasing but the pork itself was amazing. Looking more like a rib than a typical pork belly it was cooked to perfection and gently covered in smoked wild plum sauce. It could be cut using the side of a fork –no knife needed – and was a succulent to eat as you could imagine. Definitely the best pork belly I have ever had.
The potatoes were well cooked, and rolled nicely in the marjoram to make them appealing in themselves and not just plain old spuds.
To finish the main plates we had a plate of Tomatoes and prunes, along with BBQ mackerel (seasonal) in buttermilk. The prunes were wasted on me as I thought they were sundried tomatoes, but it did act as a nice palette cleanser.
The BBQ mackerel was up to the same quality as the pork; perfectly cooked with a beautiful meaty texture that tasted of mackerel (obviously!) but was not overly fishy. The buttermilk sauce went well with it and we used the last of the bread to mop up any remains.
To give full respect to the chefs we ordered desert, one hay and malt tart with strawberries and lime blossom, and one single origin choco-milk.
The malt tart was very delicate, like a panna cotta, and would have benefited from having a longer gap after the main plate to appreciate its very delicate taste and aroma.
The choc-milk was another out-of-this-world creation. Made with vintage chocolate it was like drinking pure dark chocolate (think drinking powdered Green & Blacks) and was so good I could almost give up coffee for it.
The menu is printed weekly, with different dishes being added dependant on seasonal food and resident chef ideas; and the chefs change every month to showcase their talents. This means you can make this a regular eating place and always be excited by the offers on the menu. Also The Endurance has free wifi, which worked with good speeds, so if you wanted to have a working lunch then this makes it easy. Whilst we were there people were coming in and sitting down for lunch and beers, so hopefully the word is getting out about how good The Endurance is.