If there’s one food trend that could really sum up London’s restaurant scene right now, it’s probably sustainability. From trailblazing zero-waste restaurant Silo to resourceful cocktail bar Nine Lives, some of the most interesting and innovative places that have opened in recent years are those that have chosen to focus on local sourcing, waste reduction and other sustainable practices.
Fallow is another addition to this area. Headed up by Dinner by Heston Blumenthal alumni Will Murray and Jack Croft, Fallow started life as a three-month pop-up at rotating residency joint 10 Heddon Street early in 2020, that ended up staying open throughout the various lockdowns of the pandemic. The project moved into a permanent home towards the end of last year, occupying a 65-cover space in St James’s Market, where Murray and Croft have been able to add a proper bar, expand the menu and double down on the sustainable ethos by growing more produce and doing their own whole-animal butchery.
It may sound simple, even frugal, but the food is anything but
The concept, though, remains fundamentally the same. It’s all about nose-to-tail, root-to-stem cooking that champions modest, British ingredients. So you’ve got dishes where lamb’s tongue, cod’s head or salmon belly take centre stage, alongside a grill selection of dairy cow steaks and standard British veggies like leeks, pumpkin and mushrooms.
The latter even form part of the dining room decor, quietly growing away in planters above the pass in the open kitchen, as well as in the restaurant’s dedicated ‘mushroom room’ behind the scenes. The fungal furnishings are complemented by a bountiful display of dried flowers and seaweed hanging down from the ceiling in the green-hued dining room, all of which has been hand-foraged in keeping with the sustainable ethos.
It may sound simple, even frugal, but the food is anything but. The menu is extensive, divided up into small and large plates, raw and grilled options, with bar snacks, breads and sides on top of that. And from the robust, creamy mushroom parfait, topped with homegrown shiitake and served with a slice of impeccable grilled sourdough, to the intensely meaty lamb’s tongue with zingy gherkin ketchup, this is proper, complex cooking.
And it’s all very indulgent, which I guess is the point: to show that humble, often overlooked ingredients can make really rich, decadent grub. Fatty salmon belly whipped into a thick, salty mousse is served alongside a brioche dripping with marrow. A dense flatbread is slathered in oozy Tunworth cheese and caramelised onions. All great, even if at times it kind of feels like what would happen if Henry VIII was transported to the twentieth century, became a chef and decided to open a sustainably focused modern British dining joint.
Even the vegetable dishes are rich enough to give you gout. There’s the delicious, chewy hispi cabbage, the heart of which is confited in butter and topped with crispy shredded outer leaves, all of it swimming in a pool of chive oil, white miso and black garlic. There are crunchy, if a little under-seasoned, squares of boulangère potatoes, thin layers pressed together and cooked in dripping. There are buttery, caramelised cauliflower croquettes topped with crisp cauliflower leaves and a generous shaving of Spenwood cheese.
The corn ribs sprinkled with kombu – a signature dish from the pop-up days – are just about the only thing we try that doesn’t feel heavy. But maybe that’s just because we ate them first: they are deep-fried. After all that richness, it’s a struggle to finish the very serviceable spiced pumpkin souffle for dessert, however fluffy.
The restaurant offers a solid concept and a very tasty meal. You just might have to have your own fallow period afterwards.
The vibe Swanky and sustainable.
The food Decadent dishes with humble beginnings.
The drinks European wines and foraged ingredients in the cocktails. Try the Fallow Martini that’s made with buckwheat.
Time Out tip Don’t be afraid of a little tongue and head (no, really they’re on the menu).