A few months ago Michael won a voucher for two three course meals at the Walnut, a sustainable restaurant in West Hampstead, at a Whampgather. We haven’t had an opportunity to go, but having had to cancel other plans we decided to take the time to make use of the opportunity yesterday. And what a time it was!
Being a sustainable restaurant, all employees walk, bike or use public transport to get to work. We decided to do our part as well and walked there from home – a pleasant half an hour walk, including over Mill Lane Bridge which has been decorated by kids, in perfect weather
We arrived at the restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is quite a small space, but very good use has been made of whatever there is. It could be because there weren’t many people, but the place didn’t feel too cluttered at all. A very pleasant set-up, also as we could see the chefs at work.
The menus arrived and decisions had to be made. We got on with selecting from the oh-so-good looking things on the menu, before asking the courteous waitress for some suggestions. The main course suggestions were just as we had planned, but she managed to convince us to change our starters. Having ordered our food we then settled in for the food to start arriving.
First up we were offered some home-made bread! I think we should have chosen one piece each, but being presented by poppy-seed bread, soda bread, and walnut and raisin bread I couldn’t decide. So we were greedy and took one of each to share between us. My favourite was definitely the soda bread (one in the middle)…which was still warm!
Starters were up next: Broccoli and Stilton souffle for me, and Dorset crab cakes with a chilli dressing for Michael. We decided to go half and half on the starters and switched plates half-way through. At the risk of sounding inexperienced, I think this was my first time eating a savoury souffle, or real crab cakes (it is not something I normally go for, though Michael seems to light up when he sees them on the menu). For something I wouldn’t have chosen, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe I should become more adventurous when it comes to food selection in future rather than sticking with my tried and tested items.
Having finished with the starters, main courses where next on the agenda. Michael opted for the char grilled Oxfordshire ribeye steak with chips, salad and garlic butter. I opted, as I often do, for the lamb: a slow braised Welsh lamb shank with a chive mash. None of us were disappointed! My lamb shank was so tender it was incredible. I am sure I didn’t need a knife to eat it it fell apart so beautifully. I also tasted the steak, which, as the waitress had suggested, was definitely worth it. A stolen chip from Michael’s plate also met with my approval :).
It was soon time for desserts! By now we were quite full, but how could we say no to the sweets? On the menu was both our default choices: cheesecake for Michael, and apple pie for me, and that is what we went with. Michael’s blueberry cheesecake was absolutely divine, even if I am not a big berry person. My apple pie? I am sure it was very good, but my ideal apple pie is one I buy in my home town in Malta. Of course, this did not reach my, by now, very idealised representation of what that apple pie really tastes like (not least because the Walnut apple pie is made in-house, while the one I miss is a processed type of apple pie :)). My search for ‘my’ apple pie in London goes forward, but that does not take anything away from the one I was presented with!
All too soon our meal was over. I enjoyed the fact that it was a very relaxed affair, unlike the speedy ways you are often dealt with in restaurants in London. A very enjoyable time, with delicious food, and one I hope we’ll repeat if we ever have anything to celebrate. Thank you chefs!
As for you? Do go try it out!