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The Caterer

Book review: Rustic

28 January 2016
Book review: Rustic

By Jorge Fernandez and Rick Wells

Hardie Grant, £20

A meeting just over 10 years ago in Covent Garden's Monmouth Coffee shop between manager Jorge Fernandez and Rick Wells, then a journalist working for the BBC World Service, provided the foundation of what is today a thriving café-bar business.

The first Fernandez & Wells launched in Soho in 2007, and since then the partnership has opened a further five sites in central London, selling the best bread, enormous chunks of cheese, cured meats, wine, simple cooked dishes, cakes and excellent coffee, seven days a week. The format has tapped into the desire for food with top-notch provenance served in an environment offering authentic design and relaxed service.

Rustic, as its name suggests, provides an insight into the hearty delights served across the Fernandez & Wells portfolio. The recipes may be straightforward, but the care taken in selecting the best ingredients and offering an innovative twist ensure the result is something special. A plate of fried eggs, for example, is transformed from the ordinary into the sublime by adding a sprinkle of za'atar, the Middle Eastern spice mix.

Lunch and supper dishes are robust in flavour, from roasted tomato and harissa soup to salmorejo (a thicker, creamier version of gazpacho), rabbit stew with cider, and chicken tagine with green olives.

This is not a book with high-falutin' dishes, but one where you can be sure everything you cook will taste good, as well as providing a wonderful insight into a flourishing and heartfelt business operation.

By Janet Harmer

Click here for the Rustic Taktouka recipe.If you like this, you may enjoy these

  • Spuntino: Comfort Food (New York Style) Russell Norman
  • Nopi: The Cookbook Yotam Ottolenghi

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