I know, this feels like shameless advertising.
But we love food, and even more those who put their hearts and minds into creating a good meal. Food, after all, is the epitome of one’s culture – you are what you eat. Besides, a good meal always makes people happy; perhaps, the world would be a much better place if bickering politicians and governments just sat down, look at each other, and have a good meal.
I digressed. So, what is this ‘advertisement’ about?
Sometimes, we come across restaurants out there that are so good, it’s almost criminal not to write about them. The Five Fields in London (website | facebook) stands out in this regard. Mind you, Cecilia and I both eat and pay our way (in this case, quite heftily, and we made so with bread the day after), and we are never commissioned to write about any restaurant – good or bad (of course).
Like everything else in London, there is a historical twang to the origins of The Five Fields. From its Roman beginnings to the 17th century, London’s borders are largely confined to the area known as the ‘City of London’ today. Situated north of the River Thames, the ‘City’ is but a fraction of modern-day London.
London began expanding in the 1600s, and Mary Davies, wife of Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet, inherited a 500-acre piece of empty land known as the Five Fields, covering Mayfair, Belgravia and Pimlico. The restaurant’s name, presumably, pays homage to the rural heritage of the area, and by extension, the fresh local produce that was in abundance prior to its urbanization.
Our first ‘course’ at The Five Fields was a pre-meal aperitif in the quaint, homely ‘library’ upstairs. We were then led to a dining room that shouted ‘refinement’ and ‘elegance’. Dressed in our usual travel attire (think fleece and waterproof jackets), we felt a little out-of-place given most of the clientele were in their best – it is, after all, London. It took us some time to settle down, eventually, we went for the tasting menu (which looked equally intimidating) consisting of 9 courses.
It didn’t take long for us to be impressed – for even the breadbasket was exquisite. Perhaps noticing our initial nervousness, the exceedingly friendly waiting staff talked us through each of the courses, and one even explained the history of the restaurant (here retold in parts) and the philosophy behind the food. Each course featured fresh, local produce that had an unexpected, modern twist. This was no snobbish, British fare. This was light, playful cuisine meticulously presented, crafted with a touch of molecular gastronomy.
There is food as food, and then there is food that is almost art. Suffice to say, we ended the night thoroughly impressed, and a lot more positive about London’s dining offerings after a number of sub-par experiences in the past.
The Five Fields, London
8-9 Blacklands Terrace
London SW3 2SP (map)