In the heart of London’s Square Mile next to Monument Station and a hop, skip and jump from London Bridge you’ll find the newest venture from Farmer J. By day you’ll find their fieldtray favourites, but by night, it turns into an all new restaurant, The Fancy Fork. Spearheaded by Shuli Wilmer, who spent five years working at London hotspot The River Café, it’s clear she’s brought together her experience with the flavours of her Israeli upbringing. The menu champions seasonal produce with dishes like zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, basil and olive paste and grilled whole fish with smashed roasted potatoes, sage and rosemary.
The decor is modern, simple and minimal with a focus on soft green-grey tiles and light wooden accents, feeling like a Scandinavian farmer spot, a theme which continues right through to the charming bathrooms. The simple furnishings are punctuated with lovely green hanging plants everywhere and more little plant friends on each table.
The whole restaurant was busy with a buzzing atmosphere with groups of friends kicking back after a long day at the office, enjoying good food. Perfect for spying as you go to your table to pick out dishes before looking at the menu. When we arrived we were ravenous so we quickly ordered the polenta fries and luffa bread that comes with three dips – homemade tahini to die for (so much so we asked for a refill!), zhug which is essentially a green pepper hot sauce paste and yoghurt harissa. Both of which went down a treat, gearing us up for the rest of the feast.
In terms of cocktails, we couldn’t get enough. I opted for a delicious rosemary tequila drink, which was a little more powerful than my go-to gin and tonic but definitely hit the spot none the less. Our waiter was fantastically attentive and extremely knowledgeable about the dishes, advising us of his favourites and must-try dishes, a sure sign we were in for a spoiling evening.
The standout dish of the evening definitely has to be the squid freekeh risotto with summer tomatoes, parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It was full-bodied, and reminded us of a Spanish paella, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a paella? The thani tuna tartare was another highlight served with green beans, fresh coriander, chilli and a pane carasau (which was essentially a crisp to munch along with it, providing a nice bit of texture).
Padron peppers with za’atar and oregano crumb was an interesting twist to the classic. When in season they are soft and salty with the faint threat of a spicy one lurking on the sharing plate. As the popular Spanish saying goes “Unos pecan, otors no” – “Some are hot, some are not”. This is in fact due to each padron pepper plant having one fruit at the top of the plant which we find spicy. We’re got our bird friends to thank for this who nibble away at the capsaicin without realising it’s spicy…
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🔥Lamb laffa 'pizza', roast potatoes, squid risotto, gnocchi pie, all from @thefancyfork.uk 😍 . A restaurant that completely beat my expectations, this is the new menu/evening takeover of @farmerjfood near Monument, and its bloody good 🎉 . Pretty much every dish was spot on, the tuna tartare starter incred, all these dishes brilliant too. Well priced, brilliant cooking, highly recommended 💥#invite . . #foodgasm #foodblog #buzzfeast #vscofood #lefooding #f52grams #forkyea #foodphotography #cameraeatsfirst #eeeeeats #instaeat #eatfamous #foodstagram #londonfood #london #londonfoodie #eaterlondon #buzzfeast #foodandwine #好吃 #timeoutlondon #laffa #gnocchi #OHACity #OHARestaurant #OHAFavs
When there’s pizza on the menu, you know I’m going to order it, but this was far from your average takeout pizza from around the corner. The lamb luffa pizza topped with harissa, mint, parsley, yoghurt and sumac raised the roof on my pizza expectations. The lamb flavour had seeped through the dough, which was more of a flatbread0, making it super meaty and fresh. It’s a dish I’m making a bee-line for next time I’m ever London Bridge!
By the time it came to desserts, we were excruciatingly full but I was never going to pass the option to indulge in a banoffee pie. Usually, I’m a little wary of creamy dishes and scrape the sweet whipped cream off. However, in this case, the banoffee pie came equipped with a dollop of créme fraiche on the side. The sweet banana tricked with caramel which was balanced with coffee and cardamom, and for me, it was the best banoffee ever. And there’s certainly some high contenders out there!
It’s clear The Fancy Fork was created with sharing in mind, and Shuli has really brought her background and knowledge of Israeli cuisine and customs to the forefront. And, it’s easy to say The Fancy Fork will be a regular pit-stop of mine and I’m excited to see it blossom into the bustling eatery Farmer J has known to be.