Head Chef James Cochran
Chef James Cochran draws on his mixed heritage from the Caribbean, Scotland and his birth town Whitstable through his food. James grew up working at the famous Wheelers Oyster Bar (look out for the picture in 1251), and has since worked at The Ledbury and Harwood Arms. If that wasn’t enough, James won the BBC2 food programme Great British Menu in 2018. So, in short, you are in safe hands!
1251 is how we see casual fine dining. The restaurant has a cool, artsy studio feel in a original period Victorian building. It is relaxed and laid back and we loved that sole diners stopped in.
The Menu Concept
The menu at 1251 changes daily. So really a great big kudos to the chefs for constantly changing things up and to the front of house staff for remembering the ever changing dishes!
Designed as sharing plates, the a la carte menu is split into snacks, small plates, larger plates and desserts. Alternatively, 1251 offer a 5 course tasting menu for £35 which is BYOB on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. If you want almost one of everything, then opt for the 8 course tasting menu for £75.
These are designed to accompany a cocktail (all £10) or apertif before properly tucking into the food. Cocktail wise we had a “Too Much Popular” with Mezcal, basil, Tarragon Syrup, egg white and lime which was a lovely twist on a Margarita. The 1251 G&T with Douglas fir gin, elderflower, lemon, rosemary was a great refreshing start to the meal.
Snack wise we were recommended the Buttermilk jerk chicken, scotch bonnet jam, corn nuts, coriander (£7.5). The chicken was tender and we loved the accompanying jam. The Cod Brandade with wild garlic mayonnaise (£3.5) was a croquette filled with light creamy delicious cod.
There were four small plates which all looked incredible. We could not resist the Crispy curried cauliflower, lime pickle mayonnaise, orange, smoked yogurt, grains (£10). This dish was amazing – the cauliflower was lightly fried before being covered in curried flavours so had a lovely crunch. We also tried the Cured Cornish Mackerel, cucumber, n’duja, pork crackling (£13). The pork crackling was such a good idea giving the dish an additional layer of flavour and crunch.
Plates and Desserts
The Roast Haunch of kid goat, roscoff onion, goat’s curd, mint gremolata, almonds (£22) was so tender and the sweetness of the onion and goat’s curd was a fantastic contrast.
From the dessert menu we could not resist the Chocolate Mousse, milk sorbet, cereal crunch (£9). This was a seriously great dessert as the mousse wasn’t too rich and, if you hadn’t guessed from above, we love a bit of crunch in our dishes! The Lemon, meringue, yogurt sorbet, pink pepper (£9) was the perfect combination of soft and sharp lemon-y flavours.
We were so impressed with 1251 restaurant on Upper Street. The food was pretty much faultless and it was clear how much thought and creativity had gone into these dishes. We love the sharing concept and did not mind what order the dishes came out. The service from James was also fantastic – he knew the menu so well and was so friendly without being overbearing.
As you can see, the price of the meal can add up depending on how much you order but it is absolutely worth it for more of a special occasion.
East London Girl: 1251
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