What? Having made a name for himself by winning whole host of awards and for creating officially (not so officially) the best dish in London- the cheese and truffle doughnuts, Adam Handling opened his second restaurant and the flagship site for the group: Frog by Adam Handling. A more grown up affair than Frog E1 this new site even has a hidden bar below the restaurant, Eve.
New? Yes, it opened mid-September of this year.
Where? Part of the group of restaurants that has taken Covent Garden from tourist destination to foodie hub, you’ll find Frog By Adam Handling just off the Strand at: 34-38 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7HF, www.frogbyadamhandling.com
On the Menu: As with The Frog E1, the menu is adventurous and experimental with an element of fine dining. The menu doesn’t give much away, on the a la carte menu you’ll find lists of ingredients such as: pigeon, mushrooms, acai berries or a dish of octopus, sour cream, black garlic and dulse. There are also tasting menus with either five or eight courses which you can also match with cocktails or wines.
The Look: If you’ve been to Frog E1 you’ll know it’s pretty minimal, Frog by Adam Handling is the same but more sophisticated and with less concrete and white washed walls, catering to the Covent Garden crowd rather than those in East London. An open kitchen takes centre stage with small tables facing it, there’s also a low bar that runs the length of the kitchen if you want to be up close with the chefs. Head down the stairs which are strewn with leaves past a neon sign telling us to resist everything but temptation (and those doughnuts) and you’ll find yourself in the Eve bar. Unlike the cream coloured, light-filled restaurant, the bar is a dark, intimate, the sort of place for a late-night, night cap.
What We Ate: We started with snacks of salty, crisp seaweed cut into scoops and then loaded up with beef and anchovy and mouthfuls of razor clams served with hazelnut and apple, arriving dramatically in a cloud of smoke. A close second to the cheese and truffle doughnuts is the chicken fat butter. It’s the food of gods. Butter whipped with chicken fat, it’s salty, greasy, you can feel it clogging your arteries if you eat too much, but if I choose how I was to go, then going by eating too much chicken fat butter would suit me just fine, we ordered round and round of sourdough bread to mop it up.
Luckily this was not followed by a heavy dish, but a delicate dish of mackerel and finely sliced discs of apple and radishes. The white ingredients punctuated by bright purple flowers and dots of jewel green puree. Next, a dish of earthy celeriac was complimented by a mound of shaved truffle and sweetened with apples and sticky dates.
Beautifully cooked halibut was served with crab and caviar and Iberico pork was finished with cauliflower and kimchi; each dish being precisely presented, each ingredient carefully placed. Then it was time for the cheese and truffle doughnuts. Fried dough filled with cheese béchamel and coated in a dusting of truffle, they really are perfect. They’re decadent and rich, one isn’t quite enough it’ll leave you wanting more, but have two and you’re edging towards too much.
We finished with a crisp chocolate shell filled with raspberry and served with vanilla ice-cream and a dish of mandarin slices and deconstructed madeleines.
What We Drank: The tasting menu can be paired with different wines, one particular favourite was the Calusari Pinot Noir produced in Romania. It’s not often that I come across Romanian wines, but this medium body wine was the perfect accompaniment to the Iberico pork.
Go With: Take your date to Eve Bar and take your parents to the restaurant upstairs.
Final Word: The Frog by Adam Handling feels like the grown up, polished version of The Frog E1. Luckily the food is still just as good, it’s a welcome addition to Covent Garden, bridging the gap between fine and informal dining.
Frog by Adam Handling: 34-38 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7HF, www.frogbyadamhandling.com