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An elegant dining room in the basement of Sir Terence Conran's Boundary hotel.
Laverbread, mugwort salt, coal cream – the menu at Wilder reads a lot like a Robert Macfarlane book. Or a potions list for a Hogwarts herbology class. But I am extremely hot for it. In the cavernous basement of Terence Conran’s Boundary building you’ll find brooding low lighting, spindly Scandi furniture and bushels of foliage suspended from the ceiling. All of which set the tone for what is a pretty serious menu. Richard McLellan (formerly of The Typing Room and Pied à Terre) and the team rely entirely on ingredients sourced from UK pastures and seas, from the homemade vinegars to fish from Sir Tez’s country estate. Flavours, therefore, are growers not showers, so eat slowly and ask lots of questions. Or just close your eyes and try to guess.
Because besides a forgettable brown-butter herring on toast and tempura sprouting broccoli with cod’s roe, everything we ate at Wilder was divine. Knobs of salsify (a neglected winter root veg) with fermented cabbage, creamed chervil and buckwheat was like the winter ‘salad’ of dreams, while a surf ’n’ surf of pleasantly crude sea trout and mussel was given added oomph by leek and wild garlic. A tempura nettle leaf appeared between courses, dusted in smoked cod’s roe and kelp emulsion – it was like a Skip that had won the lottery.
But it’s with the desserts that Wilder comes into its own. Ice cream made from goat’s milk and beremeal (an ancient grain grown in Orkney) was malty, salty and reassuringly savoury. If I was ever to walk Land’s End to John O’Groats, it’s this I’d want to be drip-fed, it felt so goddam nourishing. The linchpin was an orb of Jerusalem artichoke mousse, enrobed in chocolate, with a glob of hazelnut ganache and a spurt of chicory coffee. It had both umami richness and comforting plainness, which shouldn’t work, and yet there I was, stricken as I approached the last bite. An austere but fascinating love letter to British produce
2-4 Boundary St
|Transport:||Shoreditch High St rail|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: £150.|
|Do you own this business?|