Saturday, 21 January 2012


Roganic, Marylebone

I know I was a bit late for the party, but I finally made it. Roganic was an instant hit when it first opened in June last year. I did not feel very enthusiastic about it at that point - firstly because I had very little idea who Simon Rogan was (I only knew that he had a restaurant called L’enclume in Cumbria), and secondly, I was not sure if the food would be to my taste, as I had never had a vegetable based fine dining meal. But several months of observation (more like seeing constant rave reviews appearing on my Twitter timeline) led me to wonder if I should pay a visit. After consulting the restaurant guru TheSkinnyBib, I decided to treat my lovely husband to a meal at Roganic for his birthday last December. Now, one and a half months later, I still think it was one of the best meals I had last year.

The restaurant is petite with a minimalist style. ‘How was your day?’ asked Jon, one of the front of house staff, as we sat down at our table. The service in Roganic is a bit different from a generic fine dining restaurant, the staff here are professional yet causal. They did not walk away after we responded to their opening line, they carried on the conversation, and most importantly they remembered what we said throughout the night. Some people may find it a bit intrusive, but I reckon little things like this help to make your dining experience unique and memorable.

There were two menus to choose from - a six or ten course tasting menu. We opted for the full ten course one, it was a special occasion after all :) We were presented with a tray of homemade breads to start with - chestnut, pumpernickel, oat and buttermilk - all warm and perfectly shaped. Followed by ‘corned beef’ canapes, topped with mustard mayo, apple and pickled carrot.

And now, I present to you some of the most amazing food art on earth...

Millet pudding with grains, burnt pear and Isle of Mull blue - Blue cheese and pear is a tried and tested combination, the burnt favour added another level of richness to it. The grains in the millet pudding underneath were cooked just right, slightly chewy but not sticky.

King Richard baked in clay and rosemary, autumn truffle, shallot jam - King Richard is a kind of leek. We were shown an impressive looking tray full of soil and herbs, in which the leek was baked. The dish was topped with a generous amount of truffle. Sandia (the front of house staff member with the sweetest smile!) continued to grate the truffle until I got my action shot. You do not get that elsewhere, I can tell you!

Roasted langoustine, cured char, purple sprouting and chokeberry vinaigrette - One of my favourites of the night. The chokeberry dressing provided the right amount of acidity to the char, a fish in the salmon family. The langoustine was small yet intense, I just wish I could have had a bit more of it.

Poached and grilled king oyster, pine, beetroot and coastal sea leaves - Biting into the delicious oyster mushroom released the ‘juices’ it soaked up during the poaching process. It was highly enjoyable, but the essence of this dish was actually in the mushroom puree. I picked up a small amount on my fork, it was like a powerful mushroom boom in my mouth. When we met Ben, the head chef, in the kitchen after the meal, he was more than happy to explain the technique.

Caramelised cauliflower, sour cream, raisin, grilled lettuce and yarrow - Another favourite of the meal. I still cannot believe that I got excited by a floret of cauliflower, but I did. The raisin puree was interesting, it was finely judged so it did not overpower the other ingredients.

Mr Little’s Yetholm Gypsies cooked in chicken fat, snow peas, curd and clam juice - It was half a potato with crispy chicken skin, so simple, but the fat gave it an incredible depth of favour. I still think chicken skin is so underrated, it should really be used more often in restaurants.

Dab baked in fennel salt, sea beet, parsley root and watermint - Dab has a similar texture to monkfish, firm but not as meaty. I particularly enjoyed this dish because there was not single ingredient that I had tried before, and certainly nothing I can find in the local green grocer.

Yorkshire pheasant, pumpkin, muesli and buckshorn plantain - It would be the biggest lie if I told you that I did not crave some meat by this point. The pheasant did not disappoint. It was tender and cooked slightly pink, just how I like it.

Warm salted chocolate, toasted almonds and heritage apple sorbet

Bilberries, dried caramel, natural yogurt and iced lemon thyme

We had four desserts. The salted warm chocolate was served from a foam maker, so it was actually quite light. The texture of the sharp and bright green apple sorbet was like a light ice cream rather than a sorbet. The bilberry dessert was very refreshing, which was a nice way to end the meal. Just as we thought we had finished all ten courses, we were served a couple of warm milkshakes and Victoria sponges. It was like watching the bonus scenes after the closing credits of a great movie.

It may be over the top to say that Roganic has changed my food philosophy, but to a certain extent it did. There is a saying in Chinese ‘無肉不歡’, the literal translation is ‘no meat no happiness’. It describes people who love eating meat and cannot do without it, i.e. me. There was little fish or meat served during out meal, but I was happy. I cannot pinpoint my absolute favourite dish, as every one of them was full of joy. Roganic is different and strong-minded. I am pretty sure that it will continue to grow into something extraordinary.


Roganic on Urbanspoon


  1. You really made me want to book a table there straight away Cherry, thanks for the excellent write up! Love the pictures too.

    Luiz @ The London foodie

    1. Thanks Luiz! It was a very special evening, you will enjoy it! xx