Saturday night, Kemey and I went to see one of the best movies I’d seen in ages, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. The engaging documentary about Chinese artist and activist, Ai Wei Wei, was inspiring to say the least. Not just fans of contemporary art, but anyone who blogs or spends a lot of time on Twitter would be wise to check this movie out.
On the bus ride back home from the Curzon in Soho as well as off and on the next day, the film and our thoughts about it made up much of our conversation (I suspect the same will be the case when we meet up again tonight). It should be noted that another topic kept equal pace with our gabbing about the movie – the amazingly delicious meal we had just before heading across town to catch the screening.
Saturday dinner was on the early side at This Bright Field. It was also wonderful – and ranks among the best meals I’ve had in a very long time.
I only mention the Ai Wei Wei flick in my review of this relatively new restaurant because it was a really great movie and in most situations I probably would have all but forgotten what I’d had to eat beforehand.
But, the memories of … (licking my lips in preparation before typing this feast out) … home cooked Suffolk ham with smoked chicken and red onion marmalade … English garden soup … Brixham pollock with Norfolk samphire and crayfish butter … and Yorkshire rhubarb, Hampshire berry crumble with Dorset clotted cream … remained strong in our minds well after dining and despite the exceptional film we’d watched just after our meal.
This Bright Field offers a “fresh, well crafted, ever changing menu” that’s English in both its recipes and ingredients used. Head chef Matt Casey, formerly of Koffman’s and The Whitechapel Gallery restaurant, sources British regional produce to create his dishes. And bless his cotton socks for it! In particular, that pollock dish was an astounding main course and one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever had in London: succulent and flaky with a perfectly crispy bit of savoury skin and ample stems of Samphire adding just enough glorious brine to suggest an invigorating day at the seaside.
It’s not only the fab food that makes this place remarkable. Streaming, golden evening light coming in through the resto’s floor to ceiling windows offered a good guess behind TBF’s name (it’s actually a tip of the hat to author William Taylor and his book about his time as a young priest in East London’s Spitalfield). As for the interior design, you know the score: pared down minimalism with white tiles, scrubbed wooden tables and chalkboards. It’s a tune often played here in London, but one I’ve yet to tire of.
More than just an all day kitchen, (I’m very keen to try the brekkie here!), TBF is a collaboration between florist/café owners Sumen and Emel Sumen and their friend Phillip Granell, founder of pop up dining group, Parlour tricks. TBF customers can buy vegetable plants, herbs and flowers in the restaurant or across the street at a flower warehouse.
Dinner is served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and consists of a three course menu offered at two courses for £18.50 and three courses for £21.50. The menu changes most evenings and is short and seasonal. The drinks list focuses on wines from small independent vineyards making mostly organic, natural and biodynamic wines. The list features an exceptional range of predominantly French and European wines with 15 bottles at £30 or less. A similar approach applies to beer, focusing solely on local breweries, such The London Fields brewery and The Redchurch brewery.
This Bright Field is located at 268 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA close to the Regent’s Canal, Broadway Market, London Fields and artsy fartsy Vyner Street (Victoria Park ain’t far off either). Visit the restaurant online at thisbrightfield.com.