32 Southwark Street, SE1
WHAT AND WHERE? Native recently got into a spat with its neighbours in Covent Garden, so has moved to a new home near Borough Market. And it’s gorgeous – low-key, exposed brick with leafy vines climbing the walls; rather like eating in a secret courtyard. The food’s an attempt to bring the foraging trend to London with minimal wastage.
WHO? River Cottage-trained Ivan Tisdall-Downes was inspired to start Native after a trip to foraging mecca Blue Hill Farm in New York, so teamed up with ‘wild food’ enthusiast Imogen Davis to make it happen.
WHAT’S THE DEAL? If you don’t have time to luxuriate in the eight-course tasting menu, the Express Lunch is a great value introduction, at £23 for two courses and £30 for three.
WHAT SHALL I CHOOSE? There are only two choices for each course so you may as well order all of it. Definitely stump up an extra £2 for bread, it’s warm and ultra-doughy with a smoky garlic oil for dipping. The menu changes frequently, but if the smoked ham hock croquettes are on it, they’re a knockout; perfectly crisp and finished off with a tart apple pickle. The mushroom, egg yolk and sourdough starter was essentially cold breakfast food, but the same wild shrooms sing on the venison main course, a rich, decadent dish with a side of yeasty onion puree.
ROOM FOR DESSERT? Don’t leave until you’ve had the ‘marrowmel’, sticky handmade caramels with a savoury smack of bone marrow, covered in white chocolate. It’s dessert crack that will have you hankering for more.
NEED TO BOOK? You should get a table for lunch easily enough, but book dinner at eatnative.co.uk/bookings; a certain number of tables are kept back for walk-ins.
ONE MORE THING… Try some English wine – the Three Choirs red is a good start – or grab a port & tonic nightcap at the unrelated Casa do Frango upstairs.