**THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED DOWN**
From Gate to Plate – A New Dining Concept at Platform
Restaurateur Tony McKinlay and farmer friend Barnaby Butterfield have joined forces to create Platform, a newly opened restaurant in London Bridge that promises to bring us the concept of “gate to plate” dining.
This partnership between farmer and restaurateur is novel and has potential benefits. In addition to cutting out wholesalers and hopefully passing on these savings to diners, it also guarantees that the consistent quality of their meat is maintained. Barnaby’s animals are free-range reared, butchered in-house and supplied exclusively to Platform.
The concept also minimizes waste as whole carcasses are made available to the head chef, Jake Tutill, giving him a greater choice over the cuts he can use and helping him to create a more varied and unusual menu.
The restaurant is located beneath an old railway arch on Tooley Street, below platform number one of London Bridge Station. Once a lap dancing club, it occupies two floors with the bar taking over the entire ground floor while the upper floor houses the dining area.
The restaurant is spacious and light with large glass windows, exposed brick walls, and an oversized mirror ball hanging from the arch above. It has a casual and non-fussy feel about it which I found reassuring.
Accompanying me on the evening was Denise, The Wine Sleuth who partnered the wines with the dishes we tried.
We started with “Potted shrimps, with lemon and toast” @ £6.50. The potted shrimps were deliciously buttery with intense flavours of mace and nutmeg, and a dash of heat from the paprika. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and felt that at @ £6.50 it was very good value.
The “Asparagus and hollandaise sauce” @ £8 was the better of the two starters. The asparagus tasted fresh and was perfectly cooked.
The hollandaise sauce had been freshly made, and was rich but well balanced with tartness from the lemon juice. I rarely get excited about asparagus but this seasonal, English crop was sensational.
For main course, I had “Goose skirt steak, mushroom, tomato and bearnaise sauce” @ £14. I am a big fan of skirt or onglet beef steak, but had never tried it from goose. Skirt is the animal’s diaphragm, a working muscle and therefore with a tendency for toughness if not properly cooked.
The meat had been quickly seared and served rare; it had a dense and rich flavour which was well balanced by the slight sweetness and aniseed flavours of the tarragon in the bearnaise sauce. To accompany the steak I also ordered a portion of hand cut chips @ £3.50 which were delicious, crisp on the outside while fluffy inside.
The star of the evening was, undoubtedly, the “Devonshire Ruby Red Jacobs Ladder beef” @ £15. An old fashioned cut that is hard to come by (there are only two in the whole animal), it is a row of five or six ribs cut off the top to the fore ribs.
As with most meats cooked on the bone, the Jacob’s Ladder was utterly delicious – the meat was sweet, falling off the bone and the portion was enough to feed 3-4 people. I came to Denise’s rescue but we both struggled to get through the whole piece. I now understand why this cut is sometimes called the “oven buster” as it apparently swells as it cooks.
To finish off, we shared a couple of desserts “Bakewell tart with clotted cream” @ £5.50 and “Chocolate fondant, pistachio ice cream” @ £5.50. These were equally delicious, although after the Jacob’s ladder, I was starting to throw the towel in.
Our waitress Carolyn, whom we had met on Platform’s opening night, was a delightful hostess. She remembered us from the hundreds of people that were there on that busy launch; she was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and made our experience at Platform very pleasant.
I felt the wine list was well thought out, showcasing a range of different grapes from both new and old worlds starting from £17.75. For a full description of the wines tasted on the evening, check The Wine Sleuth site.
The food menu changes daily depending on available produce and has about six options each of starters, mains and pudding. Two-course and three-course menus are available for £18 and £22 respectively which I believe to be excellent value.
Cost: this was a complimentary meal but I have quoted prices of all dishes we tried. I estimate that a 3-course meal will cost in the region of £25 (excluding drinks).
Likes: unusual and flavoursome cuts of meat, good value and well thought out menu, expert cooking, good location, and very charming service.
Dislikes: the entrance and ground floor areas give the impression of a crowded City boozer like hundreds of other nearby establishments.
Verdict: Non-fussy, good quality food, beautifully cooked and at very affordable prices in Central London. An ideal place for an unusual but delicious cut of meat, fresh and organic produce and very charming service. Highly recommended.