Walking down Rupert Street in search of Evelyn’s Table, I almost walked straight past the entrance. That’s because this is not the sort of restaurant you just stumble across. Tucked away in the basement of The Blue Posts pub, through a door marked ‘private’, is where you’ll find this tiny 10-seater restaurant. The ‘table’ is a kitchen counter table, giving diners a front row seat to watch the chefs at work in an equally tiny kitchen.
Taken over by chef brothers Luke, Nat and Theo Selby in October 2020 (I can only imagine the high standard of their family dinners), the vibe here is all about taking British, seasonal ingredients and creating an ever-changing set menu of creative dishes using French and Japanese techniques. As well as the Selby guys, there’s maitre'd Aidan Monk and sommelier Honey Spencer – and that’s it. There are no wait staff, they all chip in.
The intimate set-up here could feel overcrowded or a bit hectic, but somehow it doesn’t. It sort of feels like being at a mate’s house. If your mate had incredible knife skills and a banging wine cellar.
There’s no a la carte option here – it’s a five-course set menu (£75, and they’ll ask for any dietary requirements in advance). There’s an optional wine pairing (£60), too. It’s ideal if, like me, you are an indecisive diner. One of my favourite dishes was actually a sneaky bonus dish which wasn’t listed on the set menu. They grind up leftover cuts of venison from the following course (a decadent dish of roasted venison with beetroot, blackberries and shavings of chocolate) to make mini venison patties. You watch them being flame-grilled, smeared with a tangy date and hoisin sauce and sandwiched in a steamed bao bun. It’s a mini slider so it’s small but perfectly formed – the sauce really cuts through the meat and the bun was super fluffy without falling apart in your hands. I savoured every bite of it. That said, there wasn’t a dud course here. The wine pairing was full of interesting options, too – saké made in Peckham and a mead, weirdly, also made in Peckham (the latter was paired with a dessert involving English blackcurrants and hay ice cream. Yes, hay. Somehow, it worked. The tart fruit was balanced out by the sweet notes of mead’s honey and the ice cream tasted fresh and subtle).
The quality of the food and drink here means it’s definitely at the fine dining end of things, but it doesn’t feel remotely stuffy. One of the three brothers will talk you through the dish when they serve it, but if you have questions at any point (like: ‘Sorry, did you say this was hay ice cream?’), you can just ask. Oh, and the music is great – think: hip hop and R&B (at an appropriate and not annoying volume, I should add).
Evelyn’s Table is the perfect kind of special occasion restaurant – it feels like a treat but it’s not fancy in an intimidating way. And because the menu is constantly evolving, you’re guaranteed to try new stuff if you return, which I definitely plan to do. Book yourself a seat at the table, stat.
The vibe: Expertly-crafted food with none of the stuffiness of fine dining
The food: An ever-changing set menu which showcases seasonal, British ingredients using French and Japanese techniques.
The drink: Intriguing and unusual ‘natural-leaning’ wines, including unexpected options – on our visit that included Mead from Gosnells Mead Garden and plum saké made by Kanpai (both based in Peckham)
Time Out tip: Push the boat out and get the wine pairing if you can – then you won’t have to make any decisions all evening