Ticking all the right boxes | Tredwell’s, 4a Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9NY
There are a few fundamental things we look for in a restaurant: good customer service, pleasing decor, plus great cooking with a varied and reasonably priced menu. It’s staggering the amount of places that fail on one or two of these. Marcus Wareing‘s latest venture Tredwell’s in Covent Garden’s Seven Dials ticked all the above boxes, with the added bonus of being in a brilliant and central location and having speedy social media (which is becoming more and more important to us).
Marcus is famed for his notably pricier establishments in hotels, such as MARCUS at the Berkeley and The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, so this mid-price casual restaurant is quite a hefty change of direction for him. You won’t find him in the kitchen here, he is purely the restaurateur, head chef is Andrew Ward, previously of Chez Bruce as well as a two-year stint at La Trompette.
You know that scene from Titanic near the end where Kate Winslet’s ‘ghost’ is greeted by several people as she makes her way through the ship? Well that’s what it felt like for us at Tredwell’s (without the being dead part). Our table was downstairs and every staff member that we came across on the way smiled and welcomed us in a sincere way. The decor is beautiful, a touch of art deco with back-lit angled mirrors on the wall, monochrome metro tiles everywhere giving the feel of a (glam) Victorian station/public toilet. We weren’t too keen on the decorative flame torches outside the entrance though, yes it draws attention, but it also made it look a little tacky, felt like I was back at Yates’s in 1996.
The menu is pretty simple – the food is grouped into “Pots & Jars”, “Grills & Smokes”, “Bread & Buns”, “Bowls” and “Fries”. Designed for sharing but they stress that it’s not essential. We did as advised and chose three items to (mostly) share. There was only one cocktail to get started with – Sparkling Cyanide £7.50 – green Chartreuse, Maraschino, lime, soda. With a name like that, it just had to be done, along with lame jokes about it being for Ade etc etc. He had a New Fashioned £9 – Rye whiskey, marmalade and bitters, with a slice of candied orange. He made this last all evening, sipping it through the perfect cubed ice not wanting it to end, I recon he should have simply ordered another one!
The gorgeous and robust Chorizo jam, charred bread £4 came first – not a jam as such, more of a chilli type texture, lovely slathered on the warm charred toast. Pulled pork belly, ginger & apple sliders £2.50 each were teeny little things which was just as well – buttery brioche buns of heaven. The Chipotle marinated chicken wings £5 tasted great with a gentle kick, but weren’t much to look, possibly just because they were naked, not slathered in sauce or fried.
For mains we stuck to one dish each – no sharing, just a taster of each other’s dish. I couldn’t make my mind up so made a hasty decision upon arrival of the waiter to take our order. My Pork chop, baked celeriac £14 was good but I had forgotten that I wasn’t overly keen on baked celeriac, it can be a little dull. Help was at hand with our side order of Cauliflower, sprouts, hazelnuts & Berkswell cheese £5 which was adapted to contain no cheese for me.
We love it when restaurants do interesting things with vegetable side orders, it’s so boring to find the same old thing all the time. It’s kind of how I feel when I see a chocolate brownie on a dessert menu but we’ll come to that in a bit. Oh, and allergy sufferers take note, they’re very allergy conscious here, stating everything from lupin through to sulphur dioxide .
Ade went for Sea bass, carrot pureé, lentils £14 – a thick fillet of flaky, pure white fish, really good quality and perfectly cooked. The purée had a Coronation Chicken taste to it, possibly intentional, who knows, we liked it regardless. Talking of unexpected flavours, the BBQ mayo for our Sweet potato fries £4 didn’t taste too dissimilar to Marie Rose sauce. The sweet potato fries were amazing, wedges with a crispy skin – something so simple yet often we end up with limp chips which can put us off ordering them.
So, dessert time. This diverse and varied menu deserves a fanfare. Yes, there is a brownie – but it’s no ordinary brownie – it’s a vegan-friendly virtuous one so we’ll let them off. We must have stared at the list for at least five minutes before we decided. Ade went for the Olive oil cake, blackberry jam, custard mousse £5 – a bit like a pimped up trifle, only better. A very light sponge base with a sharp blackberry topping (more a compote than a jam) and topped with a sweet mousse (imagine a custard flavoured Angel Delight and you wont be too wrong). I don’t recall ever having eaten a coconut mousse so I chose ordered the Coconut mousse with pineapple, mint, lime £5. I still haven’t ever had coconut mousse, for this was more of a frothy foam like the milk on a cappuccino, not even a latte thick. You can’t go wrong with pineapple and coconut though (it’s even better with rum) and I guess it was better for my waistline.
Another point that deserves a fanfare is the kids’ menu. We get so fed up with terrible menus for children, you know the ones – nuggets and chips, pasta and tomato sauce, blah blah. Kids deserve more than that and it’s about time that restaurants showed them the same amount of love rather than their menu being a lazy afterthought. At Tredwell’s there’s a junior menu with great sounding dishes such as Cornish cod, sweet potato smash £5 and Courgette ‘spaghetti’, cheesy tomato sauce £4. Check out the prices too.
So, lots of ticks for Tredwell’s, they’ve taken a simple concept that works well and there’s talk of it becoming a chain which usually saddens us but on this occasion, we hope it’s true.
4A Upper St Martin’s Lane,
London, WC2H 9NY
Telephone: 0203 764 0840
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday: 12:00pm – 3:00pm 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Thursday to Saturday: 12:00pm – 11:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Book a table online here
Nearest station: Leicester Square (2 mins walk) Covent Garden (4 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Tredwell’s, this does not affect our review in any way.
We always write with complete honesty.