There are a few surefire ways to tell that spring has sprung in the UK – and no, the weather isn’t one of them. Have you seen the state of the forecast? One is that the clocks have changed, leaving your oven out of sync with everything else in the house, and the other is the appearance of wild garlic. Yes it’s officially green season because the long pointed leaves and white flowers have begun to blanket British woodlands, and chefs have gone mad fer it. It may be one of the easier ingredients to forage and cook yourself but when you’ve got glorious green dishes like these just waiting for you on restaurant menus and specials boards, why not let someone else do the picking so you can focus on the eating.
The NYC-inspired spot in Peckham is putting a spicy spin on the green stuff by wrapping it around a piece of monkfish and serving it with a confit chilli & rhubarb sauce and some Szechuan-spiced pork. HAWT.
Obviously, the famous Four Legs cheeseburger should be the first thing you order at The Plimsoll – one for the road is also a sensible shout – but this wild garlic and broad bean pasta shouldn’t be too far behind.
Jun Tanaka’s The Ninth is finally back in action following a long closure caused by fire damage and the kitchen is going big for wild garlic season. As well as this gloriously green wild garlic risotto topped with creme fraiche, the menu also features gnudi dressed with wild garlic and seasonal mushrooms, so do the sensible thing and get both.
There’s just something about the combo of wild garlic and pasta and Manteca is doing it the best with this super green spinach and wild garlic spaghetti alla chitarra, finished with wild garlic oil and a golden egg yolk. Tasty and a real looker too.
Run by two former Pophams peeps, there’s a lot to love at Hoxton spot Eline, including this confit aged sea trout and barbecued potatoes dish finished with a healthy puddle of wild garlic oil and buttermilk sauce.
Why settle for regular aioli when you can make wild garlic aioli instead? That’s exactly what Notting Hill’s 7 Saints is doing, pairing crispy hen of the woods mushrooms with a vivid green mayo.
Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal
London’s latest two-star restaurant is serving up wild garlic in the most delicate of ways, including as a sabayon to accompany smoked salmon and morel farci, and as part of an impossibly pretty plate of green asparagus, smoked eel and Jersey Royals.
The snack game is particularly strong at Dorian but the kitchen can certainly handle bigger things, like cooking a two-kilo John Dory on the grill and serving it with a bone marrow and wild garlic sauce.
What’s better than an arancina? A giant arancina of course. And what’s better than a giant arancina? A giant arancina filled with asparagus, wild garlic and taleggio.
From ex-Great British Menu champ James Cochran, 12:51 in Islington is serving up plates of vibrant colour with this chalk stream trout with Jerusalem artichoke and wild garlic. That’ll brighten up your day.
Bocca di Lupo
Bocca di Lupo’s submission to the wild garlic championships is a strong contender: wild garlic and nettle pansotti with walnut sauce. Not as green as the others, since the fragrant garlic is tucked away in neat pasta parcels, but the addition of salsa di noci truly makes this a winner.