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A new neighbourhood restaurant by a MasterChef finalist? We step inside south east London’s Copper & Ink...
Where is it?
Copper & Ink has taken up residence in Blackheath, a well-dressed little corner of south east London, where locals have a good selection of smart chains and independent bars and cafes (and very posh charity shops) to choose from.
What’s all the fuss about?
There are two MasterChef names installed at Copper & Ink – you will remember owner Tony Rodd (and his epic moustache) as a finalist in 2015, while head chef Rob Parks also made his mark in the same year. You can enjoy excellent plates of food for lunch or dinner, with options for an impressive tasting menu or a seat at the chef’s table – where seven courses are personally introduced by the clever chaps behind them.
What’s the place like?
It’s a split-level restaurant, with a well-stocked bar upstairs and more tables and an open-front kitchen downstairs. On a cold and drizzly Thursday evening it was fully-booked upstairs and quietly buzzing with groups of all ages. It’s friendly and welcoming, with cookbooks and cards on display. Rob Parks popped up to say hello and everyone was in good spirits.
What did we eat and drink?
We um-ed and ah-ed about the tasting menu, which for £40 for five courses really caught my eye, but I had spotted scallops and lamb on the main menu and couldn’t be swayed. My scallops were poached, not seared, and served with taramasalata and fermented apple, while my braised lamb belly came with a delicious roasted aubergine and dollops of walnut mayonnaise.
My partner went full fish, ordering sardines with a really tasty olive tapenade, followed by perfectly-cooked halibut with oyster velouté and smoked buttered leaks. My pudding – spiced apple fritter with caramelised apple - reminded me of an autumn evening at the funfair, the perfect choice for a blustery evening watching the wind rage outside. The staff are fully geared for whatever dietary requirement you throw at them. Front of house asked about allergies on arrival, and I was promptly given a dedicated gluten-free menu and served mini loaves of bread, with chicken skin butter which I declared was ‘like crack’ (so addictive!) much to the amusement of our server.
Dietary requirements? Tick. Delicious and imaginative food? Tick. Friendly and knowledgeable staff? Tick. This is a place I’ll be going to again – I joked with the chef I would bring my vegan coeliac sister and I wasn’t lying. If anyone can do it, this place can.
My partner’s disbelief that I had polished off my whole serving of butter on two small rolls. I resisted asking for more…