Merchants Tavern, is the much anticipated collaboration between Angela Hartnett, Neil Borthwick and Canteen founders, Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton Malone. The 130 cover restaurant, bar and private dining room, marks an update on the classic tavern and takes its name from Borthwick’s belief that chefs are ‘merchants of good fortune.’
Borthwick and Hartnett have created a Modern European menu directed by seasonality. Starters such as Roast Quail with hazelnut pesto, remoulade and foie gras and Salt Cod Cream with pickled fennel and toast form a prelude to mains like Roast Venison Loin with braised red cabbage and parsnip purée and Roast Turbot with coco beans, anchovies and bread sauce. The dessert menu features London Honey Tart with malt whisky cream and crème fraîche and Manjari Chocolate Pavé with orange and kumquat salad.
The wine list will focus on classic and natural wines from French, Italian and Spanish growers, with a selection of sparkling wines including Cremant de Loire, Prosecco and Champagne while the cocktail list from bar manager Michael Cook, (formerly of 5 Hertford Street), pays homage to the classics with some innovative riffs such as Le Poisson Rouge – Baron de Sigoniac Armagnac (10 year old), Bitter Truth Apricot Brandy, Dash Orange Bitters, a splash of Champagne.
A daily changing bar menu includes Jesus Salami, Bresaola and Fennel Salami, Veal and Ham Hock Kromeski with tarragon mayonnaise, Deep Fried Artichoke with red onion and mint Salsa and Bar Cheeses: Lincolnshire Poacher, Mozzerella di Bufala and Admiral Collingwood.
The tavern is housed in a Victorian warehouse and former apothecary and the venue has been designed by Hackney based studio Very Good and Proper. Dubbed ‘Madmen meets Victoriana,’ references the late Fifties and early Sixties with leather, hardwood and natural materials.