Fallow is a period of time when nothing much gets done. As a restaurant, Fallow is a place in London’s West End in which quite a bit of dining gets done. It’s just off Haymarket, close to Piccadilly Circus, although among some quite unusual ingredients I found no mention of hay. I did, however, espy someone eating a fish head – which is my excuse for the photo on the home page.
The head in question once belonged on a cod. It is a large fish and it has a large head, which means it makes for a meaty meal, if a singular one. (In case you’re wondering, no I didn’t.) My wife asked one of the waiters “what happens to the rest of the fish?” (The rest of the menu was bereft of cod.) He replied: “We don’t take the rest of the fish.” A few days later I read an article in The Times explaining that Jack Croft, the co-owner and chef, had been visiting a supplier when he saw a bin full of heads. He was told they would be used as bait in commercial fishing. But fish heads are apparently popular delicacies in Asia and South America and now they are in central London; Fallow has sold over 10,000 since it opened at the end of last year. This particular fish dish, served with sriracha butter sauce, goes down well on social media. Well, of course it would!
As you will see from the photos here, I didn’t choose anything so venturous as that. My wife had the mushroom parfait with shiitake, which was absolutely gorgeous – the best paté-type dish I can ever remember tasting. My choice of the exotic banger was also inspired, I felt. Next to us a Japanese foursome ate their way through four shared starters and then had a Sunday roast. I wouldn’t have put its past them to have scoffed the desserts, too, which included English strawberries with artichoke cream and pink pepper. I know; how do they think of these things?
Fallow is far from cheap – we went to mark a special occasion – but the food is good, at times exceptional, and the dining room is attractive. And, unlike Centre Court at Wimbledon last week, business is brisk. It was pretty full, both when we ate and when I went to make the reservation in May. Then the desserts included rhubarb soufflé with a cardamom essence and ginger ice cream. If that had still been on the menu the other week, I would have been joining the Japanese in settling into the sweets.