When we see the word ‘foraged’ used on a menu, the following thoughts pass through our minds: Ugh. Nettles. Hipster. Rye porridge. Pretentious. Foams. Where’s the nearest chicken shop, bruv?
So it’s safe to say we went into our first meal at Covent Garden’s Native with a heavy dose of ‘curd and pickled walnut’ inflected skepticism. But then it blew our prejudiced minds, and has ever since. Native is incredible.
For those of you who are also typically skeptical about restaurants like this, know that the food at Native might look just as pretentious as it sounds – but it definitely doesn’t taste that way. Instead, it tastes… good. Locally sourced vegetables, grains, and esoteric meats come together in harmony, and unusual ingredients aren’t just a fashion accessory here – they serve a purpose. A dish like ‘Cornish Pollock, Split Pea Dahl, Cauliflower Leaf Pakora, Pickled Seeds’ may use an egregious number of words in the description, but it’s also a near-perfect piece of fish that is made more memorable by the pleasing and subtly spiced accessories around it.
We also appreciate the fact that the seasonally changing menu at Native is relatively short, so you’ll be able to try most things and get a real feel for the restaurant with three or four people. The price is another big selling point – three courses at dinner will set you back just £35. For quality better than what you’ll find at plenty of fine dining establishments around town, it’s a bargain.
Now pass some of that nettle and rye porridge, please. We can’t get enough.