Adam Handling at Caxton: Review

By a woman smiling holding a drink in black and white Emily Gray |
22nd October 2014

Having been tipped as one of the 30 under 30 to watch, winning the British Chef of the year 2014 and being the runner up in the MasterChef last year, Adam Handling has certainly achieved a lot recently and that’s before we even mention that he has just opened his new restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton and all before he is 26 – just shows what you can achieve when you aren’t addicted to Netflix… ahem.

Anyway let’s not get too down about what we haven’t done yet as hey we might not have opened a restaurant but at least we can go and try the food.  Situated inside St Ermin’s Hotel, the signature restaurant with its herb green walls and stone greys is relatively calm and understated compared to the rest of the hotel which seems to be a myriad of decors and verges on a little garish.

We started with sourdough bread with chicken butter and duck liver pate and had they told me that it was going to be three courses of that I would have been happy, because it was perfect. Slightly salty, creamy, rich and with warm fresh bread – it’s the food of gods.

Piglet belly with octopus, squid and soy consommé was good, with the octopus perfectly cooked, but I wish they would leave you to pour your own sauce, rather than asking and pouring the whole thing over the top, or just pour it on in the kitchen, it’s just a bit unnecessary.

Next up was goat shoulder (not often that you find it on a menu) with a rich ragu tomato sauce, shallots, consommé and potato bread and it was faultless. Rich, smoky and with an intense flavour, the meat was beautifully tender and just sweet enough with raisins and nuts. Elegant yet deliciously comforting, pure autumn food.

We were also bought a chicken sandwich – cooked layers of chicken skin holding a decadent dollop of chicken liver pate, devilishly rich it was the sort of thing you want to devour by yourself but really need a friend to share it with if you want to make it to pudding.

For pudding I ordered popcorn, which was a deconstructed plate of caramel popcorn (which was rather soft unfortunately) chocolate sorbet and a heap of powder which was an interesting addition. A chocolate and blackberry tart with blackberry sorbet however was delicious and should definitely be ordered if on the menu.

Adam Handling certainly is one to watch out for, his cooking is modern, refined yet still hearty and warming, just promise us one thing, say yes to the chicken butter and bread.

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