Thursday, 15 September 2011

Restaurant Review: Delfina

A taste of honey at a dinner to celebrate Delfina's rooftop hives. Here's my write-up of the sweet evening for South London Press.

It would be fair to say that hip and happening Bermondsey Street not far from London Bridge is buzzing, but few people know just how literal that is. As mentioned in this column a few weeks back, Bermondsey Street is home to its own rooftop beehives, and the resulting honey recently scooped first prize at the London Honey Show. The only place the honey is currently available is Delfina, a twenty-year institution of a restaurant set in a converted chocolate factory on the same street. In celebration of this inner-city creation, Delfina has put on a special honey menu, using one of the most locally sourced ingredients that you’re ever likely to taste.

A Honey, Fig and Shallot Tart starts the sweet journey in style, with crisp puff pastry layers acting as a cradle to caramelised shallots and a barely cooked fig, creating a dish of contrasting textures and matching tastes. This is followed by a main of Braised Shoulder of Norfolk Pork with Bermondsey Honey and Bramley Apple Gratin and Cider Jus. The succulent texture of the pork is a winner, but the gratin, made with a mix of potatoes and apples, is the real star of the show. It’s a simple concept, but expertly carried out. More gravy (sorry, I mean jus) would have been appreciated, but the honeyed cream that comes with the gratin saves it from being too sorely missed. 

Dessert would seem like honey’s natural bedfellow, and it works discretely in a rich, vanilla cheesecake that boasts a delectable quivering body and a crunchy digestive biscuit base. As if that were too straightforward, though, the prowess of both honey and chefs is shown off with an accompanying honey sorbet. This masterpiece that will get the table talking undeniably recalls the comforting drink of lemon and honey that might be given to children with a sore throat, but is much more indulgent. 

With three matched wines specially selected to go with each course also available, and prices just over a tenner for mains and a fiver for starters and desserts, this is a sweet deal. It doesn’t get much better than this, honey.

Delfina, 50 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD.

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