With kitchen experience at gastronomic hotspot Noma under their belt and a philosophy (like the critically adored Copenhagen restaurant) which extends seasonality to foraging ingredients from the place’s environs, Artichoke is going through an ever-increasing period of expansion and increased profile.
The restaurant features a number of dining rooms, including one for 16 which allows views into the kitchen and a ‘garden room’ which provides guests with a view of the ‘living wall’ of herbs, which are used in the kitchen. With decor that emphasises the key elements of the old building (stone walls, beams, intimate nooks and crannies) and augments it with modern, minimal touches and subdued artwork, this restaurant is a smart place to while away a lunchtime or an evening in front of some truly impressive food, with distinctively refined surroundings and service.
The food is of such high quality that The Independent once urged its readers to get a table by any means necessary (including moving to the area!) before it became impossible to book a space, and it’s this which has led to the restaurant being named as a ‘rising star’ by the Michelin inspectors. Frequent mention has been made of the ‘snail bonbons’ – little parcels containing meaty gastropods, perhaps served with glazed pig’s tail and bay leaf emulsion - which, despite the emphasis on seasonality, seem never to be far from the starter menu.
Mousses, foams, emulsions, reductions and liquors all highlight the painstaking cooking processes followed in the kitchen and nod to what’s currently fashionable, while a slight Nordic influence comes in an emphasis on certain seasonal ingredients (wild herbs, beetroots, rye bread, seafood) used creatively. Local meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables complete the picture.
Prices are very competitive – particularly for set lunch or dinner deals – and the wine list, while lengthy, does have a higher-than-average incidence of decent global vintages priced at a level that could comfortably be called ‘affordable’. Oddly enough – almost certainly due to seasonality at time of publishing – artichokes themselves are notable by their absence from any of the menus.