Native is a restaurant that has been around a few years now, in a number of different locations. We’ve been down to where it started in Neal’s Yard plus their restaurant in Borough over the years – and last year they even decamped to Osea Island in Essex for a pop-up. Since April 2021 however, they’ve taken up a cosy new home in Browns department store in Mayfair and we went by recently to check out the latest incarnation of Native.
Native was founded by Imogen Davis and Ivan Tisdall-Downes and they’ve long been known for their sustainable, zero waste approach to ingredients and cooking. Typical menus include foraged herbs and seaweed, sustainable meats and the best British veg. As they like to say “what grows together, goes together”, and this approach guides much of what you’ll find on the plate.
We kicked off with a couple of cocktails, which are also designed around a sustainable zero waste approach: the ‘Compost’ was a lovely take on a vodka soda made from discarded grape skin soda, compost cordial & apple shrub; and the Native Negroni was made from gin, Londino and a Native housemade Forager’s Vermouth, infused with over 20 foraged herbs. For food, you have the choice of working your way through a menu of small plates or you can go for a set menu, which has a few choices for £59. We went for the set menu as we like that kind of thing but you could just as easily pop in for a few small plates and a cocktail post shopping-spree if you wanted.
The menu kicked off with a selection of zero waste snacks made from ingredients that many would have binned but here have been made into something tasty, such as bite size pies and deep fried crunchy balls. There was also a beautiful focaccia made with regeneratively farmed flour from Wildfarmed. To start we went for a fresh, zesty Cornish mackerel ceviche topped with rhubarb and a tigre de leche made with foraged Alexander leaf. Then there was a bit of a Native signature, the meaty wood pigeon kebab, served on a flatbread with harissa and beetroot hummus.
For the main courses came a rich slice of fallow deer haunch, accompanied by smoked beetroot and a charcoal emulsion; if you’re sticking to veg, then go for the ‘celeriac Kiev’ with three cornered garlic and seaweed relish. Whatever you order though, you definitely need to get the extra side of charred cabbage with miso butter – an absolute knockout dish.
It’s also worth paying the extra supplement in the desert section for the signature ‘marrowmel’, a caramelised white chocolate and bone marrow caramel, served in a sliced bone. And if you can manage it, go for the Jerusalem artichoke mille-feuille too, a veg-centric take that brings an earthy sweetness to this classic dessert.
39 Brook Street, London W1K 4JE