Restaurant review: Bradley’s in Winchester Road
PUBLISHED: 14:30 31 July 2020
It was a case of remembrance of things past when Ham&High reporter Harry returned to this Belsize Park institution - but instead of a madeleine, it was a creme brulee that brought tears to his eyes
A lot can happen in a year. Friendships made, relationships lost, or both at the same time. That’s before you factor in that global pandemic, which you’ll have only missed if you’ve been under a rock.
Ironically that may have been the best place to sit it out.
So it was a rare bit of normality to be asked back to review Bradley’s in Winchester Road, a little over a year after the Ham&High last stepped through its doors.
On a balmy summer’s evening it was a case of everything and nothing has changed. You’re greeted at the door by a waiter in a visor and asked to use the hand sanitiser dispenser. So far, so Covid. But once you get past that, it was almost identical to last year’s experience. The tables were always well spaced out to create an atmosphere of airy modernity. The sleek furnishings are the same. The menu is just as simple and enticing. Pause and look around at the other diners, and it’s as if nothing has happened.
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And the food lived up to past remembrance. A herby aubergine tortellini with a tomato jús and sliced olives kicked off proceedings, topped with a pecorino crisp, like a wafer on your ‘99 in Regent’s Park. It’s one of those touches that Bradley’s drops in, almost to test you.
The main course, a breaded cod with a garlic butter centre, could have been unremarkable, but it’s another example of Bradley’s serving something that looks simple, but is executed fantastically well. Cutting into it, the melted butter oozes all over the purple and green broccoli which provides a flash of colour.
It’s the food equivalent of a cover drive at Lord’s. An action and dish so simple that it can trick you into thinking you too could do it just as easily. Yet in all likelihood, you would be stumped.
It was paired with a buttery 2016 Pinot Noir from New Zealand, which complemented the fish and my friend’s duck breast well.
Finally, dessert. On my walk over I tried in vain to remember what I’d had a year ago. This time I ordered a raspberry Creme Brulée and thought no more about it. Yet when your memory lets you down, it’s always smells, tastes and sounds that bring things back. The tartness was familiar. We’d met before. Like a warm embrace from an old friend it was a welcome reminder of the world we inhabited a year ago and one that occasionally, in the right light, is still there.
Bradley’s is taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme offering £10 off food and drink. Bookings at bradleysnw3.co.uk
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