Btw- the featured image is from Gunpowder! The restaurant that this article is about was too good to stop and take photos! And quickly…
A DISCLAIMER: This is my attempt at a slightly (ever so slightly) more grown-up blog post. New site, new style! Let me know what you all think, please 😊
Since London emerged from its sleepy daze, people have begun to eat out again. I, despite the deep reservations of my bank account, have certainly been one of them. I have noodled (Xian Impressions), curried (Gunpowder), Portuguesed (Casa do Frango) and bougie Turkished (Oklava). All were wonderful, but none, perhaps with the exception of one of my new faves Mamapen (a spot of Cambodian delight), made me feel. The difference between good, great and outright ridiculous food is subtle. Whilst Oklava was divine, big big big shout out to the candy-like date butter which I would genuinely spoon onto everything for the rest of time, it didn’t quite make me feel. Mamapen came very close, but one place went above, beyond and all the way to funky town.
4 Legs. The cult classic which has swept the capital, winning the hearts of foodies with their no-nonsense, unforgiving and brutally simple approach to food. It begins and ends with that hamburger, that juicy dexter patty with that simple, nostalgic burger sauce and those damn good pickles. It is the burger you would draw as a kid and the burger you would design if you had all the money, resources and expertise in the world. It is, quite frankly, perfect. Yet, what doesn’t quite get the hype it deserves, despite being what seems to be the most talked-about kitchen in North London, is everything else!
The octopus ceviche, with wondrously thin slices of nectarine and radish in a leche de tigre so damn perfectly balanced the effortlessly cool waiter just popped 2 spoons on the table for us, just from checking out the way I was eyeing up the bowl.
The wings, crisp to the point of explosive in a deep, deep XO marinade with all the plummy umami you would expect of a slow-cooked sauce of seafood and ham. The mushroominess was picked up on and given a luxurious flirtatious finish of grated black truffle. It was, one of the smoothest uses of the much fussed about truffle and perhaps my favourite instance of it that I remember. The freshness of cucumber did not go amiss.
The watermelon, served with EVOO, the good stuff, golden and rich, some vinegary something and beautiful salted ricotta which was finely grated over the top so that it sort of collapsed into the dressing and made this delicate creamy shmush at the bottom of the plate. It was a kiss of a dish. Like a refreshing slip’n’slide in your back yard, it just cooled you. Refreshed you. My only complaint of the whole meal was that it came first and could not cut through the richness of the fattier dishes later on and that it was perhaps a trifle overpriced. Not because it was not worth the £8 we paid, I would have it right now again at that price, but more because I can imagine some people would not get it as they may be perturbed at paying that for a plate of melon. I say worth it! Everyone should have this dish to complement the bolder flavours later on. Bold flavours such as…
THEM FOCKING POTATOES!!! Deep fried new spuds so crispy and waxy and creamy that they put the chip to shame, bringing to the table a profound questioning of the omnipresence of the chip on every menu. The rich aioli was no yolk and was spiked with the perfect amount of garlic. The potato game is changed.
I don’t remember the last meal I had where every mouthful sent my eyes rolling into oblivion in the way only the finest food can. The service was light, true and the sort that leaves you wishing you were best friends with the folk that work there. I had something of a crush on one of them… guess the job was done properly. Friendly, chatty and happy to help out. I only knew about the nectarine because my gal went the extra mile to help a happy customer out- great service is an art form and during these tough times, if you can, tips and appreciation are so important. Thank you so much! Feel free to ask for my number if you read this…
After all this food and a fine ale to wash it down, my friend and I popped off to another fine establishment, the Hemingford Arms, for a few more bevs in one of the prettiest pubs I know in London. A damn good day. Thank you to the chefs at the Compton Arms for a truly memorable meal and I will be back soon… when my bank balance permits it. On this occasion, even if it will cost you an ‘arm and 4 Legs’, trust me, it is worth it!