Newly opened in summer 2013, 1701 has a star kitchen team creating high-end cuisine based on traditional Jewish cookery. Decor is suitably smart and minimalist, with one red flower on each linen tablecloth. Windows overlook the brass chandeliers of the adjacent synagogue (founded in 1701, hence the name). Dishes on the concise menu (19 choices in all) are well-executed, with due attention given not only to appearance but also depth of flavour.
Chopped liver tasted ‘like grandma’s’: intense yet lighter; a Moroccan-style pastilla was filled with luscious braised lamb, garnished with parsnip purée and raisin jus. Deeply flavourful hay-smoked short ribs with celeriac purée and pomegranate jus completely outshone its downbeat title ‘flanken’ (boiled beef). Afghan-inspired palau kabuli was juicy pan-fried duck breast with little confit cubes of the meat, puffed wild rice and nettle risotto. Desserts were less successful: black olive ‘soil’ didn’t improve an orange semolina cake, but sachertorte delivered the right intensity of chocolate with dots of salted caramel and an ice-cream flavoured with cherry stones.
While prices are high, service is impeccable and presentation outstanding (if over-elaborate, to some tastes). This venture deserves to succeed – it just needs word to get out.