Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Restaurant Review: Made In Camden

Dining in entertainment venues is notoriously hit and miss. Or perhaps more often just plain miss. Made In Camden at The Roundhouse gives it a good shot. This is a review originally written for Blue Tomato magazine.

It’s hard to know what to expect from Made in Camden. Cafes and restaurants which are based in venues, as Made in Camden is at The Roundhouse, are notoriously hit and miss. What we do know is that we really want to love it. Not only so that we can get some decent grub during Roundhouse visits, but also because of everything it stands for. The restaurant’s local sourcing policy means working with businesses from the area; they’ve even recruited a local chef, Josh Katz; and what’s more, all proceeds are poured back into the Roundhouse trust. The promise of a dinner menu of small plates is a tantalizing one…

On first impressions, Made in Camden has the look of just any cafeteria, and not much more atmosphere. But as we settle down, are welcomed by the incredibly friendly staff, and take a look at a menu that you certainly wouldn’t find at just any cafeteria, the ice is broken. The end of a performance then triggers an onslaught, and suddenly the place is heaving – though still relaxed.

Even with the tapas-esque small dish approach enabling us to try more things (they reckon 3 dishes per person) there’s enough tempting options to make choosing between them a tricky task. Wood pigeon (£9.90), which comes sliced with a pumpkin risotto and confit garlic starts things off in exemplary fashion. Whilst the meat itself is faultless, cooked just slightly rare, it’s the pumpkin risotto which steals the show. To say this is because it tastes so much of pumpkin would sound foolish, but when was the last time you ate a pumpkin risotto that actually did?

A follow-up of chicken liver parfait with toasted sourdough bread (£6.90) is equally well received, although the accompanying ‘caramelized fig’ is not caramelized, and the bread is actually a dark rye. Scallops with chorizo, and celeriac puree (£9.90) are beautifully chargilled with a subtle smokiness; and a dish of pork belly (£9.90) is variably as meltingly tender and as crackingly crispy as it should be. Accompaniments of pickled cabbage, apple puree and fragrant poached quince aren’t to be ignored either.

A couple of beers from the Camden Brewery (there’s three on the menu) help things down, whilst a characteristically competent wine list from Bibendum is also at hand. Peanut parfait, chocolate mousse, salted butter caramel (£5) may sound like a whole dessert trolley, but it is just one dessert. Salty, sweet and achingly rich, the small portion is probably sufficient, but we’d have happily eaten another.

Any local, Roundhouse guest, or passer-by feeling peckish should be grateful of the dining options that Made in Camden has brought to the area. Offering all-day snacks, sandwiches and cakes along with dinnertime small plates and a comprehensive range of wines, beers and cocktails, there’d be few occasions not well catered for. Our only criticism would be that (especially given the cafeteria feel) they’re charging a tad too much for what are, after all, only small dishes. At least knowing that the profits are going back into the Roundhouse takes the edge off, though.

The Roundhouse, Chalk farm Road, NW1 8EH

>> originally published in Blue Tomato magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment