Hand Made Food, London: restaurant review
Originally a small community deli/café, we review what the new restaurant at Hand Made Food has to offer
In a nutshell
Deli by day and restaurant by night, this community venue in South London delivers the best of both worlds. There’s a new menu every week and the food philosophy revolves around local ingredients from the south of England’s finest producers, which are often handpicked at Blackheath’s weekly farmers’ market.
Guy Awford, the man behind Inside (a former staple of Greenwich’s food scene) and The Guildford Arms, creates the menu. With an open-plan kitchen downstairs, Guy and his team of talented chefs work to develop new dishes right in front of you.
Menu know how
The food here is based on seasonal, free-range produce from the best local suppliers, veg is from Watts Farm in Essex and fish from down the road at The Fishmonger in Greenwich. It's a short menu with a choice of only three options for starters, mains and dessert, and the ethos is to take simple, often humble ingredients and transform them in to bold but comforting flavour combinations.
What’s the room like
It’s easy not to realise that there’s two parts to Hand Made Food, as on the ground floor there’s plenty to distract in the deli. However, head upstairs into the dining room and you’ll be greeted by friendly staff in a small, inviting space, peppered with vintage mirrors and a mismatch of rustic tables.
Must orders and misfires
Dinner started with the classic combination of duck ham (home-cured), blood orange, walnuts, chicory and kohlrabi salad – the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. For a simple, light and flavoursome main course the butter-roasted cod, chive mash, creamed kale and roasted Jerusalem artichokes shone.
Rich, hearty and packed with Mediterranean flavours, the pan roasted pheasant breast and braised judion beans with a tomato and sage, game jus won our hearts too. (Game is sourced from Chiltern Farm Food in Amersham.) Go savoury to finish things off with Hand Made Food’s artisan cheese board selection from Neals Yard and Mons Cheesemongers, including brie, creamy blue and manchego served with fresh homemade fruit chutney and crackers. Awford’s strictly seasonal approach might mean you’re unlikely to see these dishes on the menu again, so check out the website to see what’s cooking this week.
With a menu guaranteed to tempt you in, don’t leave it too long to book or you’ll risk missing the very dishes that grabbed your attention to start with. Pop in and take-away during the day or book into the restaurant in the evening and discover the kitchen’s latest creations before they disappear for something new at the end of the week.
Whenever you do arrive at Hand Made Food, feel safe in the knowledge that you’re in for a treat with simple, natural ingredients transformed into big, hearty flavours.
Hand Made Food, 40 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London SE3 OBD
Words by Nicki Smith, written February 2016.
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