Brat, Shoreditch: restaurant review
Tomos Parry's first restaurant since leaving the acclaimed Kitty Fisher's is a masterclass in wood-fired dishes inspired by his native Wales
What's the draw
The site of a former strip club in Shoreditch now plays host to not one but two excellent restaurants: first the bigger iteration of Ben Chapman's Smoking Goat, and now a co-venture, Brat, on the floor directly above it, headed up by Welsh chef Tomos Parry. Here, you'll find the type of wood-fired cooking that made Kitty Fisher's such a hit, in a generous dining room filled with chatter, not music, and confident British dishes made to share.
What to drink
There's a succinct cocktail list here, and we tried a couple: the Sloe Gin Negroni, with a punch from the peppery gin, and a good Campari hit before a lingering sweetness provided by sweet vermouth; and the Laver Martini, which infuses wheat vodka with a touch of seaweed (a taste of what's to come), with a complex, but clean and subtle finish. There's an excellent wine list by Noble Rot's Dan Keeling, too, with plenty available by the glass: we particularly enjoyed the 2014 Côtes de Duras from winemaker Mouthes le Bihan in the south-west of France, a taut, merlot-dominated red blend bursting with just-ripe redcurrant and mint. The star of the show, though, was the Brat Pour. Each month, the restaurant highlights a particular producer's flagship (usually a low-intervention, natural wine) alongside a full description: on our visit, it was the 'Tondonia', a 2004 white rioja from winemaker López de Heredia, chilled to perfection, where coconut and almond notes gave way to a touch of pineapple, honey and goat's cheese, with just enough salinity to make it completely moreish.
What to eat
Browsing Brat's menu is akin to standing on a craggy, rainy, windswept Welsh coastline and asking "What can I eat?" The answer here, naturally, is anything and everything, and while we didn't try the flame-grilled turbot that lends the restaurant its name (from the Welsh slang term), we gave most of the rest of the menu a good go. Flatbread with sluicy, pungent anchovy are a perfect appetiser – umami in its purest form atop cloudlike, pillowy dough. We ordered another immediately. Rabbit sausage is even more salivatory on the plate than it is on the menu, a punch of gamey flavour, with creamy, starchy white beans, pesto and oozy blood sausage. Mullet is characteristically meaty, with crispy skin, a lightly blanched 'slaw and an acerbic dressing. We finished with the beef chop – a thickly sliced, rare hunk of ex-dairy cow, the cap of fat providing a deliciously salty, savoury counterpoint to the iron-y punch of the flesh – a dish just as worth naming a restaurant after as the eponymous fish.
Sharing plates from £3.50; wine from £5 by the glass. 4 Redchurch Street, E1 6JL; bratrestaurant.com