25 February 2013

Manuka Kitchen: Restaurant Review

If you've been reading this humble blog for awhile (and if so, thank you), you'll have twigged that my friends and I are becoming serial weekend brunchers, and have been tending to check out Kiwi-esque brunch spots in the capital. The Manuka Kitchen is such a place.



Opened in the last few months at time of writing, Manuka Kitchen in Fulham is a self-start up, run by Tyler Martin (the Chef, originating from New Plymouth, New Zealand) and Joseph Antippa (Tyler's Lebanese business partner).

"DELICIOUS FOOD. GREAT WINE. FRIENDS.
WE THINK THAT JUST ABOUT COVERS IT."
 
Such a great ethos for a restaurant!


Manuka Honey, which the restaurant is named after, is a 'superfood' originating from New Zealand from a single source; the bees that pollinate Manuka trees in New Zealand's East Cape region – and is rather expensive. About 4 years ago there were a lot of exciting claims that Manuka could heal wounds, which were never quite realised. It's still delicious though, and is full of all sorts of vitamins, nutrients and goodness.

The menu isn't dominated by the honey, but includes it as an ingredient here and there, and is available additionally as a toast condiment. The menu and the cooking reflects a love of fresh straightforward ingredients combined to great effect.


Between us we enjoyed a couple of delicous Lattes and Mochas which started us off well. They were followed (with a wee delay) by the French Toast and Sweetcorn Fritters.

The French Toast was lovely, the thunder stolen by the delicious bacon and honey caramelised banana.

The Sweetcorn Fritters were fine, always a great brunch item but not quite as we expected - we thought they would be a little more like these or the Black Pudding ones at Caravan. For my palate they needed a little more flavour, body and crispness, to give it that satisfying 'ka-pow'. The accompanying Chutney was gorgeous though, they should bottle it.
 

The prices are good, especially for central(ish) London, and lend themselves to extra orders; the couple on the table next to us ordered quite a bit more, including some sexy looking sausages. Be warned though, at time of writing they are cash only as they are in the process of organising card facilities.

Decor is fairly minimalistic; small wooden tables, terracotta tiles and simple lightshades. This is mostly due to the businessmen being on a tight self-funded budget, but with good tasty food, the decor can be uplifted with time. It's a small bistro, with around 20 covers so make sure you book ahead.

I think if I was in the area, based on the quality and evening meal prices I would visit again but I'm not sure we'll be back for a special return visit for brunch. It's not far from the Kings Road and Stamford Bridge FC, so I expect I will be in the area again at some point, and will make a point to re-visit in the evening. This could be a local jewel that you don't really want other people to know about, so shhh...

Manuka Kitchen can be found about 5 minutes walk from Fulham Broadway tube station. Further details can be found here.

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