When the world’s most feared food critic is a fan of your food, you know you’re doing well. And it’s not just A.A Gill who’s a regular at Manuka Kitchen; tables are heaving every night of the week at this neighbourhood bistro with trendy young clientele who enjoy good food and good drink. I jumped on the district line to go check out the place that’s giving Fulham a foodie reputation…
Manuka Kitchen is located just a quick two minute walk from Fulham Broadway opposite King Edward Mansions. The restaurant looks like an informal, neighbourhood bistro, with low hanging lights, leather booths and long wooden tables. High ceilings and large glass windows make the place feel warm and spacious and the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant is a real talking point.
Manuka only serves the highest quality produce, with succulent meat sourced from Aubrey Allen and the freshest vegetables from Wild Harvest. Joseph Antippa and Tyler Martin are the dynamic best friend duo behind Manuka Kitchen; Tyler cooks beautiful modern European cuisine and Joseph handpicks the best wines. They also have a creative cocktail list and over 40 types of gin, perfect if you’re partial to a G&T. I caught up with Joseph to find out which dishes are winning locals over.
The food is all about imaginative flavours and perfect presentation. He recommends the crispy squid and the butternut laksa with chilli oil and peanut yoghurt to start, which is really rich and fiery. The Manuka honey and lemon grass cured salmon is also a winning flavour combination, as is the pan fried scallops with artichoke puree and truffle honey. Rich, sweet and sharp flavours feature heavily but everything is exquisitely balanced. Starters are priced fairly around the £6.50 mark.
If you are a fish fan, order the pan roasted market fish with silky truffle mash, oyster mushrooms, parsley and hazel nut pesto. The fish melts in the mouth and you discover another exciting flavour on each bite. The mussels drowned in lemon grass, chilli, kafir lime and coconut also come highly recommended and the dish comes with chips so you can ensure every last drop of the fragrant sauce is mopped up. Joseph tells me the ragu beef bolognaise is a hit, and for those wanting something light the salt baked sweet potato, cauliflower and hazelnut salad will hit the spot.
I’m not usually one for desserts, but the sweet menu here is extremely tempting. Manuka honey makes another appearance in a silky saffron brûlée, and it’s also drizzled over artisan cheeses and paired with apricots in another dish. Though if you want something chocolate based, you can’t go wrong with the peanut butter, chocolate and pretzel tart
Manuka is turning three this month so it’s the perfect time to go check out their food and wish them happy birthday. I’ll certainly be back to try their notorious brunch!
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