A few days before I got back from Chile, I got word that the weather in London had warmed up a bit. Having enjoyed the spectacularly hot summer sun in South America, I looked forward to returning to a not-so-freezing winter in London.
Unfortunately, by the time I was back in Blighty the weather had taken a turn for the colder. Bundled up in my winter coat, I was in need of one last night of comfort food in London to get me through until spring.
That food came in the form of Bonds, a restaurant in The City near the Bank of England. Bonds invited me and a guest to dinner last week, and I readily accepted the offer.
I arrived at Bonds at 8pm and walked into a pleasantly buzzing bar scene. Tables were filled with the after work crowd from the banks and law firms that populate the area, and the spacious room and high ceilings gave the place a trendy-meets-traditional feeling.
The hostess took me and my dinner companion to the dining room, which was behind the bar in its own space. It was a quieter area, and was nicely separated from the more convivial bar atmosphere. A banquette cut the room in half, and tables lined the outer walls.
When we got to our table, we ordered a glass of champagne from our server. Right after that we were approached by a second server to ask if we wanted to order any drinks. The small hitch was the only one in the high standard of service that we enjoyed for the remainder of the evening.
Picking up the extensive wine list, I was happy to find some very reasonably priced California wines. We ordered a bottle of DeLoach Zinfandel. Having been to the winery and enjoyed their pinot noirs, I was excited to see how their zins tasted. The result: very good.
Moving on from the liquid portion of dinner, we started with a spicy fresh Dorset Bay crab salad and a luscious plate of scallops. I had the former, which featured incredibly fresh crab and was light without being flavorless. I heard that the scallops were equally good, but I didn’t get my fork over to the other plate before they were all gone.
For the mains we continued with the seafood theme. I ordered the Peterhead cod poached at 48ºC, which was served with mussels, vegetables, and a beignet. My dining companion had the fillet of sea bream a la plancha with Borlotti bean and basil minestrone. My cod was delicious. It had a great consistency and was cooked just enough, but not too much. The accompaniments went well with the fish, complimenting it without overpowering it.
Full from dinner but not wanting to skip dessert, we ordered the Amedei 70% chocolate fondant with almond milk sorbet, and vanilla ice cream with rhubarb. Both were great endings to an already good meal, and the glass of 2005 Chateau Briatte Sauternes was also very enjoyable.
We were the last table to leave the restaurant that night, but as we walked through the bar there were still a few tables buzzing with the business crowd. I suppose I wasn’t the only one seeking warmth and good food on a cold London evening.
On my way out, I noticed fliers for Sunday Roast, the mother of all comfort food meals. And speaking of mothers, they even had a special flier for a Mother’s Day set menu Sunday Roast on April 3rd. My mother doesn’t live in London, and the weather will possibly be warmer by then, but if it’s not, I might just find someone to play the part of mum and sneak back to Bonds for a another helping of comfort food.