Restaurant review: Roganic, London

When my husband and I heard Simon Rogan had left Fera to go and add another restaurant to his growing empire, we were excited to go and see his new place. This Michelin starred chef (who needs to split his time between a few high level restaurants) has appointed Oliver Marlow, for sure a future star in the foodie scene, as his Head Chef. Oliver has an impressive background of very high level restaurants, from Eleven Madison Park in New York and Maaemo in Oslo, to Fat Duck in Bray and now Roganic. He was also part of the crew of Roganic pop-up restaurant.

We went to Roganic after one week of opening. The atmosphere as soon as you step in is welcoming and relaxed, and the decor reflects this, being very minimalistic and bare. The staff were very friendly. The General Manager was a character, in a positive way, which we liked. I can already see some Michelin stars in the horizon for this place as soon as the next ones are given. Those who are familiar with my restaurant reviews know that I don’t give the top five stars easily at all and only reserve them to the best (in fact I’ve not yet given any), and even four is not given to all nice restaurants. I think Roganic is so good that I’ve been contemplating between four and five stars. See the end to find out what I decided in the end.

We decided to go for the full Tasting Menu experience with wine pairing.

First we had an appetiser of raspberry tart with beetroot and buttermilk. First taste was sweetness from the raspberry, after that the earthiness of the beetroot. The tart pastry was very light, thin and crispy.

Second came a trio of appetisers.

The seaweed custard with caviar was absolutely devine. It actually reminded me of a food from my background, a kind of salmon meatloaf, but with a nicer texture and even nicer flavour. It didn’t seem to have any fish, so the fishy flavour must’ve all come from the seaweed.

The pork, eel and hay cream ball, again was absolutely delicious. My husband said the flavour reminded him of smoky bacon crisps (potato chips), and after he said it I could taste it too. Both the texture and taste were just simply wonderful.

The raw mackerel with lovage in pickled kohlrabi had nice, charred smoky flavour to it.

Next came scallop with gooseberry, apple and oyster. It was nice and fresh, however I do find raw scallop usually very mild in flavour. All the flavours went very well together.

Once the bread came it was time for the usual butter test. We were delighted that Roganic passed this test with flying colours. Both the bread and the butter are made in-house. The bread was one of the best, most flavoursome sourdough I’ve ever had, and butter was extremely fluffy and soft, almost mousse-like, simply perfect.

First warm dish was artichoke broth with smoked yolk and winter leaves. This was really good, very flavoursome. The yolk was perfectly gooey, the thicker kind you get when slow cooked. Beforehand, I had reservations about the broth, but it was in fact top notch.

Next up was salt baked celeriac with enoki and whey. This was very nice. I often find celeriac very bland and tasteless, but miraculously Simon and his team have managed to bring out the celeriac flavour. I also thought the crispy enoki brought great texture as well as subtle mushroom flavour, which all worked very well together with all the other ingredients. The whole dish had lovely earthiness to it.

The next course of millet pudding with stichelton, pear and bone marrow was a dish that ‘grew on you’ as you were eating it. And when you remembered that the caramelised pear was at the bottom of the bowl, and tasted all elements together, it all all of a sudden made sense. The wine pairing for this was also perfect.

For the fish dish we had butter poached halibut with brassicas and tarragon. The fish was very well cooked, soft and juicy. I was slightly nervous about the tarragon sauce as it can be an overpowering herb, but I should’ve remembered where I was and not be nervous. The sauce complimented the halibut very well. It was only at this stage that we were able to think of any, first bit of criticism, for something being somewhat too salty. We thought it might have been the brassicas.

For the meat we had duck. The dish was served on three separate plates, and I would say was quite generous. The breast was cooked really well, pink as it should be. The skin also had crispiness to it. In many places the skin isn’t crispy, and I think it absolutely must be. Heart was served with cheese ‘mousse’, which was superbly tasty, almost like a garlicky flavour. I loved this. The leg meat was served cold, and again was very tasty. We found it a little bit awkward to eat from the three different plates, but in terms of flavour it was all very good.

Next we had a palate cleanser of yellow beetroot sorbet with mint oil, buttermilk and oxalis. The taste was earthy, but fresh at the same time. Sorbets are often either quite sharp or sweet, this was neither, but earthy instead. A very nice dish.

For the first dessert we had burnt milk crisp with blackcurrant and yoghurt. This was very good, I loved the burnt milk crisp. Everything worked well together.

The dessert of caramelised apple was an absolute triumph. I’m not usually one to pick apple dessert, and I thought this was fantastic. The apple was cut in thin layers, then rolled together, and was wonderfully caramelised and sweet. Also the pastry at the bottom was light and delightful. The sour milk ice-cream had a very interesting flavour of fir.

For Petit Fours we were served juniper fudge, rhubarb jelly and dandelion seed snap. The fudge had a very interesting flavour from the juniper. The rhubarb was nice, and the dandelion seed snap had an interesting, earthy flavour, which my husband loved.

Finally, as we were leaving, we were given a little ‘gift’ of a mini brioche loaf, orange marmalade and two tea bags, for next morning. What a wonderful way to make the experience last even longer.

Rating: ★★★★★