London: BRAT

Brat’s special. It’s the kind of place you would take someone if you really wanted to impress them but look effortless doing so, sort of like the no-makeup makeup look? I can’t even pinpoint what I loved about it: was it the food, the vibe, or the company? Perhaps all three.

But this is a meal that requires some planning, despite how easy it looks. I could only get a reservation for 4 for dinner at 6pm, a month in advance. That said, Brat were very accommodating of an additional person which we added to the reservation so I’m very grateful for that!

Snacks – oh man, I think this was my favourite part. I loved the anchovy bread; so pillowy, chewy and topped with anchovies, it was salty and briny and texturally fun all at once. The spider crab toast came topped with copious amounts of charred cabbage; it was bright, light, but packed an unassuming punch. And the grilled bread with onion spread, I think I could eat it again and again. It should be law that all bread should be grilled.

We also got the beef tartare, asparagus with burrata, mussels, beef short rib and of course, the legendary turbot. The turbot was a work of art – just look at it!! – and beautifully slow roasted. It was good, but it wasn’t life changing for me. Nothing quite captured my imagination the way the snacks and sides did.

If there was a place I could compare it to, the closest I could think of is Burnt Ends – but Burnt Ends is a lot smokier and grill-happy. Burnt Ends promises smoky, jazzy warmth in winter; a more mature cousin to Brat – a lighter, springier, summer’s day, where the focus and emphasis is on the season’s best.

Brat is so simple but so smart – it’s one of my most memorable meals in a while. I can’t wait to be back. I hope I’ll be back.

BRAT: 4 Redchurch St, London E1 6JL, United Kingdom

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