Mark Sargey has a lot on his plate. Already owning two restaurants in Kent, as well as being ‘Executive’ Chef at the Strand Dining Rooms, he opened his third restaurant in the heart of Soho last week. And it certainly did not disappoint.
Morden and Lea, on bustling Wardour street, is divided in two. Upstairs is the more refined of the two: a brasserie with a fixed price menu (2 courses for £28, 3 for £35), with a very British menu. Great value considering the quality.
The ground floor, with its slick and en trend decor, is their more casual wine bar/restaurant which serves small plates and sharing platters, as well as a good range of Old World wines (their Nero D’Avola – if you like rich Sicilian wines – was really good).
On Tuesday I went with a friend who’s into his gourmet food, to take on some small plates and to talk travel. We were pretty much the only people there – but that’s clearly because it’s new and most people don’t know about it yet (they will soon) – rather than because it’s unappealing. It did mean we had the waiter to ourselves and there was very little waiting around for food.
We tried pretty much everything on the menu: a range of tartines and a number of small plates. And two deserts to finish.
Apart from the mackerel, which we decided was a bit ‘I-can-make-this-at-home’, everything we ordered was delicious.
Stand out plate:
– The crab sausage roll. Wouldn’t normally be my dish of choice but I was intrigued by the crab addition. It was incredible. There has already been quite a social media stir about these moorish items, so go try them and put your version on Instagram/Twitter (or just enjoy them). #crabsausageroll
I also really enjoyed the broadbean, pea and peccorino tartine and the goats curd. The sourdough bread was super fresh and delicious (ideal for dipping in the Aubergine puree).
Pudding was another highlight. Intending on sharing one we of course ordered two, as choosing between chocolate and buttermilk was just plain impossible. The chocolate ganache had the most incredible texture, creamy and thick but with a nutty crunch. The buttermilk pudding was similar to a Pannacotta (my favourite desert of all time) and I loved the berry compot with it.
In short: Mark Sargey has nailed it. I like restaurants which give you the option to book if you want as well as the option to walk in and grab a quick bite if you prefer. And that’s rare in London these days, especially in Soho.
17 Wardour Street, London W1
Photos Morden & Lea’s and my own