Please note, The Providores has now closed. Time Out Food editors, August 2019.
Peter Gordon is on a roll. His funky, relaxed fusion café and restaurant Kopapa has been going great guns, and summer 2013 saw him taking the famous Sugar Club kitchen back to his native New Zealand for a starry hotel launch. None of this has taken the shine off The Providores & Tapa Room, his flagship Marylebone project.
On the ground floor is the Tapa Room, a casual, buzzy space heaving with well-dressed locals knocking back top-quality coffees, New Zealand wines and an all-day menu of small plates. Upstairs in the more formal but still intimate Providores restaurant, everything is ratcheted up a notch. You pick between two and five courses from the sonnet-like menu of small plates, sit back and wait to be blown away. But you’re not – not quite.
Few, if any, menus like this can hit the high notes with every dish. We liked almost everything – though the scallops with a bright salad and beurre noisette hollandaise were all but ruined by a spicy ketchup-like bloody mary sauce; and dal-stuffed tempura was ill-conceived. Still, coconut laksa mined with a fish dumpling and quail’s eggs was deliciously memorable, and the meat dishes (pork, beef, duck) all inventive and well executed.
For a good dinner out, however, we’re more tempted by the lower prices and expectations met at Kopapa.