*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards
Originally from Devon, and in his first head chef’s position at just 24, Merlin Labron-Johnson won Portland restaurant, in London, a Michelin star. With classical French training, Merlin has gained a reputation in the capital for light and fresh modern dishes. From crispy chicken skins with liver parfait, candied walnuts and pickled grapes to chargrilled duck hearts with girolles and sweetcorn. It was a dessert of avocado and yogurt that made the biggest impression on our most recent visit, though.
“The avocado is a great all-round ingredient that lends itself well to a variety of dishes and many cuisines,” says Merlin. “In Brazil and many parts of Asia, avocado is enjoyed as dessert; its creaminess provides the perfect texture for sweet dishes and can easily replace a crème patîssière, custard or mousse. And not forgetting its numerous antioxidants and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the heart. It was my grandmother who introduced me to the concept of avocado desserts – she mixes it with brown sugar, a little lemon and serves it with strawberries.”
Classic technique, updated. Head to Portland for relaxed, affordable contemporary fine dining in Fitzrovia.