New restaurant openings in Liverpool Street (clockwise from top): New Street Grill, Old Bengal Bar, Fish Market
Not content with bringing one addition to the London dining scene, restaurant group D&D have firmly stamped their mark on New Street with the arrival of 3 wholly different venues: Fish Market, Old Bengal Bar and New Street Grill. Hidden within a statuesque conversion of the City’s oldest surviving warehouse, these musketeers respectively bring a faultless fleet of fish and seafood, cocktails and nibbles, and steaks and grills to London’s fairly unchartered foodie territory of the City of London. New Street Grill is the central site of its namesake street and our destination for the evening, where we’re to find an inspired and effortlessly refined take on the traditional British grill concept.
Our evening begins in the adjoining Old Bengal Bar, an emporium of plushness and luxury that blends eastern aromas and apothecary concoctions with a New York-cool, with patchwork stools, plush leather and weathered brickwork providing a backdrop for the marble swathes of the bar. Waitresses pad round in floating paisley-print kaftans, while sharply dressed, animated bartenders bring a quirky, Manhattan-style edge to the proceedings. Bringing new meaning to the connotations of ‘flair’ behind the bar, it’s clear that as well as an innate talent for mixology, the bartenders are doggedly passionate about their craft.
British Gardens (left) and Bengal Spice cocktails
We start with refreshing gin and fiery vodka-based mixes, which are topped with teetering, intricately-twirled orange peel and cleansing ribboned cucumber. Exciting cocktails are standard here, but there’re more anecdote-worthy offerings on the agenda at Old Bengal Bar. We shudder at the intriguing texture of tequila-pickled larva, and marvel at a prized bottle of 1930s Bacardi, bought at auction weeks before for a staggering £1,700- one of only 2 bottles left in the world. We’re told there’ll be quite a ceremony when this particular bottle’s uncorked (it’s the base ingredient of the bar’s most expensive cocktail, the £195 Royal daiquiri). Also, forget the familiar thud of the ice machine: a glass-like block of purified water is 4 times colder than those mundane cubes, and it’s chiselled away and added to our drinks in triumphant fashion.
Glass block of purified water at Old Bengal Bar
The guys behind the bar care about getting things right, and visitors are given something to remember at Old Bengal Bar. Quality and innovation are tantamount here, with the prospect of rare bottled finds and achieving bang-on flavour combinations clearly making them tick. The staff seem genuinely excited when we gush at our chosen mixes and comment on their supreme craftsmanship.
Moving through to New Street Grill, we bypass imposing glass-fronted wine display cabinets, and are instantly enveloped by the rich burgundy and chocolate tones of the dining room. Extending on from the bartenders’ impassioned approach, the New Street Grill sommelier, recipient of the Court of Master Sommelier Award (the Holy Grail of the wine world), heads to the aforementioned wine cabinets and matches some inspired bins to our simple, yet impeccably executed dishes.
London cure smoked salmon classic garnishes
The finest meaty strips of London cured smoked salmon are served with half a muslin-wrapped lemon, and classic accompaniments include capers, soured cream, egg & chives and diced shallots. The second starter is game terrine: a hefty pressed slice of heady flavours, accompanied by the sour punch of pickled shallots and warm sourdough toast.
350g Rib-eye on the bone
Brought to us straight from the josper grill, the 350g West Country Black Angus cut of rib eye steak is encased with a veil of glistening juices. Unique to its cooking style, the meat has a distinct smoky, chargrilled flavour, and is so tender that the steak knives we’re given seem somewhat redundant- in a good way of course. Accompanying the melt in the mouth hunk of beef was increasingly fashionable were triple cooked chips, fluffy in the middle and crunchy on the outside, ceremoniously dunked in a miniature golden pan of peppercorn sauce. For the more adventurous, the roast split bone marrow at only £2 a pop is one to add to the wish list. Steak and red wine go together like, well, steak and red wine – a glass of 2010 Acustic Cellars from Priorat in Spain was the deep and heavy twin brother to the rib-eye steak.
Devilled free-range spring chicken, shallots, crumb & mustard
Devilled free-range chicken is our second main course. A subtle mustard crumb gives way to beautifully succulent meat, while an eclectic arrangement of gleaming copper pans reveal our sides of steamed spinach, and a super-fresh, crisp salad with a light and fragrant dressing. The accompanying red wine perfectly offsets the spice of the mustard.
Lemon posset, blackberry & shortbread
Gorgeously contrasting layers of deep purple blackberries and smooth pastel yellow posset both offer a distinct lip-smacking tang, and a buttery yet crumbly slice of sugar-coated shortbread is a perfectly complementing accompaniment. A super-sweet 1996 dessert wine is a beautiful contrast against the bitterness of this dish.
Cumberland rum Nicky
A perfect prospect for a dreary autumnal evening, this rich and sticky tart was loaded with dates and sultanas, and subtle flavours of citrusy orange and spicy ginger make for decidedly festive flavours, set off by quenelle of vanilla cream. A glass of 10-year-old Tawny port gave one last powerful sweet kick to the palate.
For those who are more seaside-inclined, the neighbouring Fish Market is a cavernous space of all things nautical. Vintage school canteen furnishings and suspended industrial light fittings give a nod to the site’s warehouse beginnings, while a glimmering crustacean bar offers the freshest iced shellfish. As well as a wine list of 80 predominantly white wines matched to the clean, classic fish dishes, the adjoining Wine Shop showcases 600 prized bins.
We leave feeling we’ve just witnessed something really special; aside from the menus being a dead-cert hit with even London’s most discerning restaurant-goers, the spectacular setting and expertly-pitched service are a sure recipe for success for these 3 exciting new venues.