Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw has brought his Seafood & Grill to London, with the opening at the Capital hotel. Kerstin Kühn went to visit
Cornwall's two-Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw may be best known for his fine-dining skills but in addition to his flagship restaurant, his more casual Seafood & Grill at the St Enodoc hotel in Rock has been equally successful. Here, he takes a more straightforward approach to serving up his beloved seafood and it is this idea that he has now transported to London, with the opening of Outlaw's Seafood & Grill at the Capital hotel.
"David Levin [owner of the Capital hotel] came to Cornwall and ate with us and we got chatting," explains Outlaw. "He really loved what we were doing and felt that there was a space for a seafood restaurant in London."
The restaurant officially opened last month in the dining room that was once home to Richard Shepherd, Brian Turner and Eric Chavot. The space has undergone a mild refurbishment, now featuring bare wooden tables and a window to the kitchen.
From Cornwall to London Outlaw divides his time between Cornwall and the Capital, spending a day or two a week in London. But it's head chef Pete Biggs who dons the whites at the new restaurant. Biggs has worked with Outlaw for a decade, first at the Vineyard at Stockcross and later at the Black Pig in Cornwall where Outlaw gained his first Michelin star in 2004. After stints at the Square and Hibiscus in London, he moved back to Cornwall in 2009 to head up Outlaw's Seafood & Grill there.
"I loved working in Cornwall but I'm very excited to be back in London," he says.
Since the opening Biggs has had to make a few changes to the menu to adapt it to the London market.
"We've had to adjust the portion sizes as people in London don't seem to eat as much as they do down in Cornwall," he admits.
The fish is delivered three to four times a week from Outlaw's Cornish fish supplier, who buys his produce from the markets at Looe, Plymouth and Brixham. Salmon and shellfish come from Scotland, while Queenie scallops come from the Isle of Man.
A popular starter is cured salmon with horseradish yogurt and fennel dressing (£12). The salmon is gently cured for 30 hours in beetroot, sugar, salt, honey, tarragon and fennel seeds. "Instead of slicing it we dice it and serve it like a tartar," says Biggs. It is served with a dressing of fennel, apple and pickled shallots.
Main courses include cod with scampi and rosemary butter and crispy courgettes (£26); and brill fillet with potted shellfish butter featuring razor clams, clams, Queenie scallops and mussels (£32). The brill is grilled to order and served with chargrilled baby leeks and diced potatoes.
Meanwhile, a mackerel dish (£17) sees the fish prepared in two different guises, with a char-grilled fillet served hot alongside a cold smoked mackerel pÁ¢té (which Biggs smokes every morning on the roof of the hotel). The dish comes with soused vegetables - red peppers, carrots and shallots - confit potatoes cooked in Cornish rapeseed oil and a drizzle of paprika oil.
Crowd pleasers Desserts continue in a similar vein featuring crowd pleasers like chocolate mousse (£6) and lemon posset (£7). The signature dessert is the treacle tart, which is baked to order.
"Diners have to order it when they order their starters and mains so that it's ready in time," Biggs explains. "It's almost like a combination between a treacle tart and a custard tart. It's not as dense as a normal treacle tart and we add lemon and orange zest to freshen it up."
Outlaw's Seafood & Grill has transported a bit of Cornwall right into the heart of London.
Sample dishes from the menu
Starters Lemon sole, crispy oyster, oyster sauce and cucumber £10
Cornish lobster, orange and basil £14
Peppered venison, beetroot and goat's cheese, English truffle £12
Main courses Sea bass, red wine tartare dressing and anchovy and potato gratin £32
Plaice fillets, chestnut mushrooms, parsley dumplings, lemon and â¨garlic £19
Duck breast, chicory tart, satsuma and pistachio £22
Desserts Chargrilled pineapple, cream cheese ice-cream, butterscotch sauce £8
St Clement's posset with sugared pistachios £7
Poached quince, rice pudding, gingerbread £7
Seafood & Grill Capital hotel
22-24 Basil Street
London SW3 1AT
020 7591 1202