For an edible extravaganza, just moments from the Gherkin skyscraper and the heart of London’s financial district, James Cochran EC3 will surprise and delight. The simply decorated restaurant may lack the spectacle of some of London’s more well-known fine dining hotspots yet, when it comes to the food on offer, this culinary powerhouse can compete with the best of them.
With an à la carte lunch menu comprising of dishes that showcase the best of the sea, land and garden – warm Harrietsham leeks with miso, onion and almonds perhaps, or aged fillet of belted Galloway beef with mushroom purée, pressed potato and bone marrow – along with a stellar line-up of desserts, the restaurant makes an ideal place to refuel after exploring the nearby Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch neighbourhood.
The menu also rewards evening visitors, with the best à la carte dishes presented in six-course carnivorous and vegetarian tasting menus. For the pièce de résistance, choose the 10-course option. Here Cochran demonstrates the skills and ingenuity he gleaned from his five years at The Ledbury, a west London institution with two Michelin stars. From Jerusalem artichokes with feuille de brick pastry and smoked crème fraiche to the braised neck and roast saddle of Herdwick lamb with white beetroot, charcoal, bonito tuna, pomegranate and ewe’s milk, every dish is perfectly formed in order to satisfy the taste buds without overwhelming the stomach.
Rounding out the meal is the heavenly deconstructed Snickers dessert. Combining chocolate mousse with cheesecake ice cream, nougat, peanuts and caramel, this is a much-attempted finishing touch to tasting menus that often fails to hit the mark. Not so at James Cochran EC3, where the perfectly balanced dish was the best version of this modern classic that this reviewer has ever tasted. This dish alone would be reason enough to visit James Cochran EC3, and even better for it to be the finale to a decad of culinary prowess that could rival any of London’s best.
James Cochran EC3, 19 Bevis Marks, London EC3A 7JA, +44 (0)20 3302 0310