Mondomulia’s restaurant contributor Adrienne Fung recently experienced a delicious dinner at Henrietta Bistro in Covent Garden. The menu is inspired by southwest France, Corsica and the Basque country. Read more about it in this review.
The other week, I had the chance to stop by Henrietta Bistro in Covent Garden for dinner with a friend. I have strolled down Henrietta Street many times and even dined at neighbouring restaurant, Din Tai Fung, just recently but never realised that Henrietta Bistro was just under my nose the whole time.
Tucked on the ground floor of a luxury boutique hotel (The Henrietta Hotel), Henrietta Bistro is the new restaurant by Head Chef Sylvain Roucayrol. Roucayrol who hails from south-west France and combines French and Basque influences in his dishes. We arrived at 6:30pm and the front bar was happily filled with post-work patrons imbibing on a cocktail or two.
As we walked through, we were pleasantly surprised to find the dining room already buzzing with diners. The space feels elegant without being stuffy; a bit contemporary yet also a bit rustic; the perfect balance of casual and sophisticated.
Before diving into the food, we started with cocktails made by the in-house mixologist. I tried Winnie is Still Winnie, a whimsical rum-based cocktail with ginger cordial and bitters, while my friend drank a classic vodka martini with olives. Both our cocktails were tasty and perfectly prepared. Mine was fruity, balanced and not too sweet.
The menu is comprised of small plates meant for sharing with a recommendation of about three dishes per person. We started with fried purple artichoke with nori & smoked anchovy yoghurt, line caught tuna tartare with tahini & truffle, and burnt aubergine with pickled cherries & pistachios.
Our server brought out one of their daily specials for us to try: the tuna tataki with almond and apricot.
All the dishes were gorgeous, but two in particular blew us away: the tuna tartare and burnt aubergine.
The tahini & truffle served with tuna tartare made for a surprising, but delicious combination. The creamy, nuttiness from the tahini perfectly balanced the freshness from tartar and earthy aroma from the truffle. We were told that this was one of the most popular dishes and we could immediately understand why. Too often we see truffle thrown on top of dishes just for the sake of it, but this dish was well thought out, tasty and harmonious.
The burnt aubergine, on the other hand, was my favourite dish of the night. The aubergine was cooked until fork-tender so that it melted in your mouth. The cherries added a sweet tartness to the buttery aubergine. While a seemingly simple dish, perfect execution made it the star of the night.
The artichokes were beautifully fried and not too greasy, but the best part of the dish was the salty, umami of the nori & smoked anchovy yoghurt.
The special tuna tataki was by far the most beautiful and picturesque dish I’ve ever had. The plating and attention to detail did not go unnoticed.
Following our first round of small plates, we once again took recommendations from our server and tried the grilled octopus with smoked tomatoes and piquillo yoghurt, Secreto Iberico with smoked jalapeño & lardo, and marinated lamb chops with black olives & zucchini tsatsiki.
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised and delighted by every dish. The octopus was grilled and seasoned perfectly. The smoky tomato sauce was bright and tangy, elevating the octopus.
The Secreto Iberico gave us tender cuts of pork with delicate sheets of lardo draped over. The smoked jalapeños added a wow factor to the dish.
The lamb chops were also a hit and another must-order at Henrietta Bistro. They were cooked perfectly and the meat was juicy and tender.
We asked for a portion chips with brava sauce on the side and we were so glad we did! They were hot and crunchy and the sauce was addictive.
We finished the meal with two desserts to share: a gorgeous strawberry tart and their signature warm chocolate mousse. The tart was assembled beautifully and had just the right amount of sweetness. The sprinkle of mint also gave the dessert a pop of freshness. There were also crystallised black olives served with the tart. Certainly a bit unusual and not sure if it added a lot to the dessert, but we appreciated the creativity. The warm chocolate mousse was luxurious and decadent. This is a must-order for any chocolate lover.
Henrietta Bistro also boasts an impressive wine list and cognac list. In fact, they specialise in cognac with a wide selection of cognacs including many small batch regional producers. The sommelier at Henrietta Bistro was clearly well versed in all areas. My friend tried a glass recommended to him and very much enjoyed it.
All in all, we were extremely impressed by our experience at Henrietta Bistro. It was by far one of the best meals I’ve had in London and certainly a place I’ll be recommending to friends and family. The service was top notch and every dish we tried was one I’d happily order again.
Not only were dishes executed perfectly, but the flavours and ingredients were thoughtfully paired. As an added bonus, they have an impressive cocktails and wine list too!
Henrietta Bistro fits the bill for a casual post-work drink, a more sophisticated dinner out with friends and everything in between.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.