Cook House. After an incredible evening spent dining and drinking at the much revered restaurant on Foundry Lane – which, through some gross oversight on my part, I was yet to try – I can confirm that it is, absolutely and irrevocably, the place to while away an evening in the company of good friends (and even better food). With it’s focus on fresh, hyper-seasonal small plate fare and a clear penchant for interesting flavour combinations and quality ingredients, Cook House absolutely blew all of my expectations (which were already pretty high after reading all of the stellar reviews) out of the water.
The ambience in Cook House was warm and inviting, and we were very happy to tumble out of the heavy evening rain and into the cosy downstairs nook where we were seated by our profoundly friendly waiter.
Originally starting out in a tiny shipping container on Ouse Street back in 2016, Anna Hedworth’s foodie hotspot moved a hop, skip and a very short jump across the Ouseburn canal to Foundry Lane in 2018. Since then, they’ve continued to exceed the expectations of all those who entered their humble and unassuming door, blowing customers away with a quality and depth of flavour I haven’t experienced for a while.
Upon being presented with the menu we were just a little excited to see that fresh, seasonal plant produce featured so heavily. This place is a dream if your diet is plant based, but as there is a great selection of meat and fish dishes featured too, it would be a great place to come regardless of your preferences and dietary requirements. It’s always lovely to have somewhere that will suit everyone.
All of the dishes were spot on. We loved the choice of rye bread with dishes like the trout and the borani – something we’d never heard of, but which was a thick dip of sorts made from roughly smashed up leeks and scattered with mint leaves. This addition made a welcome change from the current focus that is rife in most restaurants on sourdough, which, although delicious, can get a bit samey (however, that being said, we were presented with two complimentary hunks of the stuff, warmed and drizzled with olive oil when we first took our seats).
The star of the show however, I think both of us agreed, was the tempura cauliflower which was drizzled in a light coconut curry sauce and smattered with black sesame. Do not be fooled by its beige appearance and relative simplicity. The cauliflower was fried to crisp perfection, and the sauce it was adorned with struck a perfect balance between both sweet and savoury on the palette. Hot damn, it was good.
Close second to the cauliflower came the incredible beetroot main that we ordered, although the chalk smoked trout with it’s perfectly sweet pickled cucumbers came in at a hairs breath. But, wow, this beetroot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such wonders worked with a humble beetroot and an unassuming handful of lentils. The flavours of this one were balanced perfectly, with a sour edge afforded to the sweet beet by the addition of beautifully pink pickled red onions.
Last but not least came dessert. After somewhat stuffing our faces, we were doubtful as to whether it was reasonable to opt for a sweet something to round it all off. However, the dessert menu was far too enticing to resist. After all, this outing was all in the name of “research”, so, we thought needs must. We settled on the Hazelnut & Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Syrup & Praline. Yes, it was as incredible as it sounds.
So, are you sold? We can absolutely attest to the fact that Cook House is more than up to scratch if you’re fancying a relaxed evening in a cosy setting, complete with skilfully put together, seasonal food. As far as their renowned brunch menu goes, watch this space, as we’ll certainly be checking that out pretty soon, too.
Feeling to check out Cook House? Head over to their website and get in there quick to make your reservation, you’ll need one!