At Friends with Friends. Located in North West London, Friends is a local restaurant which serves local food prepared by Savoy trained, Chef Patron, Terry Farr.
The building which is 500 years old welcomes you in like a friendly pub and on cue the staff are on hand to greet you and welcome you in. We got a bit of an awkward welcome as we hadn't actually booked the venue and were umming and ahhing about what was going on. With the cosy and closely knit restaurant, i guess there just was not any space for any uninvited guests.
We were seated quickly enough and being in an old building, the restaurant had a feeling of Alice and Wonderland, with the slightly slanted ceilings and the old decor. However, in spite of this, the ambiance and style felt elegant and classy.
The menu is simple, yet intriguing and mouth watering. There is a bit of everything you would want and reading the menu makes you want to sample it all.
In my mind, I had already chosen before I got to the restaurant and this was the grilled squid (above left) and the roast lamb (below).The rest of the menu looked appetizing too with scallops and black pudding, duck confit (above right) and rabbit terrine. All the food that arrived was presented neatly with good service. The squid that I had was lovely and tender, cooked well on top on the bed of rissoto. All the different elements worked well and the rissoto helped to flesh out the squid. It was an decadent take on the usual take of squids and calamari. It was a goo start to a nice night.
Prior to this too, we were given our amuse-bouche of a coffee mushroom soup. This came in a coffee mug with mushroom soup and truffle. Once you had taken the froth off the top you were allowed to sip the soup from the mug. The rich truffle flavours were too much for Laura, but I really liked it. The amuse-bouche however, was an early warning of a pricey night. That extra touch is something that you woud pay for.
The mains came in good time after the starters. Good work Friends. The staff were on point and looked after us all night. After my recent incident of poor service, I do appreciate the simple things.
The lamb was simple yet delightful. Roast lamb cooked medium rare, with Dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables. The lamb was succulent and covered in a lovely sauce. Interestingly enough, the restaurant helped continue with its element of class with no salt or pepper on the table. With the chef, Terry Farr, I can imagine him saying "they do not need any extra seasoning, my food is superb". The lamb was cooked, but I would have welcomed the option and felt that the lamb needed a dash extra salt. The rest of the food was seasoned well and did not need much extra. It wasn't a super filling dish and I was thankful for this, I did not want to be super stuffed and feel fat either. Instead my hunger was gone and I was given good food, with some micro veg which provided different flavours and textures.
The duck I tried was also very nice and the orange bitter sauce worked well. We were all pleased with our food and although it was a bit dense and rich for some, I was a fan. At £45 each with not too much drink, it was a bit more than I expected, but food does add up with a starter, main and desert. About the desert, this was quite disappointing, the chocolate fondant (which came with a time warning of 20 minutes) arrived slightly before time but was not that special. With the good work the chef had put in previously with the rest of the food, this was a bit of a disappointment, almost akin to a Tesco desert. Sorry.
I've been trying to get out to more restaurants in different areas and I was glad I did. Going to Pinner to catch up with good friends, was a win win all round. A bit pricey, but Friends with friends is a must if you are okay with a slightly pricier evening. Go on treat yourself.