So what do we need to know about The Nitery?
It's a three-month residency by chef and cookbook author Gizzi Erskine.
Where is it?
She's taken over the old Asia de Cuba restaurant in the St Martin's Lane Hotel, which closed a year ago after being open for 20 years (a lifetime in London restaurant terms). The space hasn't really changed all that much - the key differences are the colour (it's now a midnight blue to match the name) and the artwork, which includes pieces by, among others, comedian Noel Fielding.
Where should we meet friends for a drink first?
The bar at The Nitery only really opens towards the weekend - when it does, we'd highly recommend the Jasmine Margarita. Otherwise, your best bets are probably The Harp for real ale or Mr Fogg's Tavern for cocktails.
What's on the menu?
There are French, American and English influences at work here. But it's a pretty easy menu to work through - split simply into snacks, starters, raw, mains and desserts. Here's what we had:
What about vegetarians?
One of the best dishes we had on the night was vegan, using an ingredient that seems all the rage in London right now.
What about dessert?
Having seen pictures of this on Instagram, there was really only one dessert we were going to order...
And to drink?
The wine list here is both interesting and - especially for a high-end hotel - pretty well priced. There's a big focus on biodynamic wines (but not exclusively) and half of the main list is focused around this, starting at £33 a bottle, £9 a glass. Gizzi herself recommended the Dirupi Veltellina Superiore which at £72 would be pushing the boat out, but certainly worth it for this floral Nebbiolo.
Is there anything else we should try?
We liked the look of the flageolet dauphinoise with goat cutlets (£22), which we saw going past and got serious dish envy, but we we'd definitely start with this...
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Day two of f&f softs for @theniterylondon @stmartinslanesocial Very proud of this dish. This is a chestnut mushroom carpaccio. That there on top of it is a Choux pastry with a sweet and salty chestnut crackle. It’s filled with a moussey Porcini mushroom parfait and a Madeira jelly. It is an outstanding plate of food. The parfait is vegan. We are working on making the choux vegan too, but for opening this dish will be vegetarian. Its really damned delicious and as we said, we’re very proud of the skills in it and how well orchestrated it is.
As you'd expect with anything by Gizzi, there's loads to like and maybe you'd be best off coming here with a group, so you can try more of the menu. One reservation we had though is the speed of things - or rather the lack of it. There's some lag between what's happening front of house and the kitchen keeping up with demand - it's definitely something the hotel needs to work on. But if they can fix that, then this is a very welcome, albeit temporary addition to this theatreland hotel.
More about The Nitery by Gizzi Erskine
Where is it? St Martins Lane London, 45 St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX
When is it running? 13 February to 30 April 2020
Hot Dinners dined as guests of The Nitery - all prices correct at time of publication.
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