108 Garage is located on Golborne Road, off Portobello road and just over a five minute walk to Ladbroke Grove station. The cuisine is Modern European with an Asian twist and the décor is contemporary. We had the pleasure of sitting overlooking the chefs at work and it was really fascinating watching them – it felt like a live episode of MasterChef!
The six course tasting menu, which changes very regularly, costs £45 and the chefs are happy to accommodate dietary requirements. This is what we had, with a few extras. To start was the 108 Sourdough, seaweed butter, tarama, chicken liver parfait. The parfait and tarama were both smooth and flavoursome but for me the seaweed butter stole the show; creamy delicious butter with a kick of seaweed – I had to stop myself filling up on the bread!
The chef prepared a few little ‘snacks’ as he called them for us to sample. We tried some salt and pepper tapioca crackers with a cod roe and romesco sauce. These were like tasty little prawn crackers, beautifully presented with a taramasalata type sauce inside. On to a sample of some mustard dashi – Dashi is a Japanese fish broth and this one, seasoned with mustard, packed a punch! It was warming and really delicious.
For some table side entertainment we got to try some frozen sorrel. Frozen using liquid nitrogen the leaves were presented to us smoking and they tasted like apple! We also had a sample of some salt baked carrot which the chef served to us with some raw artichoke. This was delicious; the chef explained that salt baking insulates the food cooking it gently. The carrot was tender and had a lovely flavour to it.
On to the main events! We tried the wonderful Scallop, lovage, horseradish, apple, caviar. The scallop is served ceviche style and the sauce and apple combo is mind boggling. It tasted fresh and zingy and really went down well. We also had the Farinata, green tomatoes, almond. Farinata is a chickpea pancake and this one was a show stopper, its gluten free and vegan and it tastes incredible you wouldn’t guess at all that it was so healthy!
Next up was the Squab pigeon, woodruff, cherries, almond which was served with a confit pigeon leg. The pigeon breast was cooked to perfection, married really well with the sauce and the confit leg was to die for. We also had the Mackerel, oyster, pink fir, sea beet – the mackerel was seasoned really well and I loved the pink fir, which is a type of potato, they went really well together. Obviously both dishes were plated beautifully too. In between the mains and desserts we had a Muscat palate cleanser which was fresh and certainly cleansed our palates; it was like a grape sorbet – delicious!
The deserts were incredible, all three that we tried had flavour combinations we’d not tried before and tasted so good. We started with the Salted black cherry, raspberry, perilla. This was a black cherry sorbet which was dark and delicious and very moreish. After that we had the Chocolate cremeux, cardamom ice cream, wild rice. Again, delicious and moreish but very different to the sorbet, this one felt indulgent and the flavour combination of the cardamom and chocolate made it seem like you were eating a chocolate chai latte – it was so good. Lastly we had the Buttermilk, strawberry, chervil which was the most confusing of the lot! Chervil is a herb related to parsley which has a sweet aniseed flavour and was served as a kind of sorbet with basil infused strawberries, buttermilk ice cream and meringue; it was like a garden themed eton mess! On it’s own the chervil was bitter and strange tasting but all together it was delicious. Possibly my favourite of the three we tried.
Alongside our fantastic food we had delicious (massive!) gin and tonics. I tried the Martin Miller’s: mint, cucumber, Indian tonic and my friend had the Little Bird Gin: grapefruit, goji berries, Mediterranean tonic. Both were fresh, zesty and really tasty.
The service was really good too – the chefs were descriptive when presenting the food and our waitress was so lovely. 108 Garage was a great experience and we’ll definitely be going back.