Turnips in Borough Market Serves Exquisite Farm-to-Fork Fine Dining & Launches Fight THE SYSTEM Menu
All images courtesy of Sasha Huang | CSP Times.
In the heart of the bustling Borough Market, Chef Tomas Lidakevicius and Charlie Foster opened Turnips – an unexpected yet delightful dining experience for a fresh food market in London.
Nestled amidst the busy paths of the popular tourist attraction, Turnips restaurant attracted plenty of buzz when it opened in 2020. Chefs needn't look far when it comes to sourcing fruits and veggies, while its co-founder Charlie Foster is a fifth-generation greengrocer.
Under the dim yellow lights of the half-open kitchen, Chef Lidakevicius and his team prepare the seasonal tasting menu and wine paring (all aged up to 3 years), for an exquisite and unforgettable experience.
Bread & Black Garlic Butter
To start, a beautiful and warm miso sourdough with a cup of garlic butter on a rattan weave stool was brought to the table. The exterior was crispy with a fine crunch, and the inside tasted fluffy, tangy and soft all at the same time. Just by itself, the bread was already a delicious opening. However, when coated with a thick blanket of butter, the pairing is elevated to a new level. The large crystals of sea salt glisten on the top where the knife sinks easily into the smooth and thick garlic butter. Every thick layering brings a rich taste of creaminess against the subtle yet luscious garlic flavour – a starter that constantly finds its way back to the mouth.
Maitake – Buckwheat, Wild Garlic Capers
Maitake arrived in a stone bowl. The dish is almost reminiscent of the ingredient’s origin where the mushroom rests beneath a lavish coat of buckwheat popcorn, buckwheat foam, pickled garlic capers and mushroom powder dusted on top inside the dark grey bowl as if a scoop is taken right from nature. The maitake mushroom is glazed in light soy and wasabi dressing and tasted thick and creamy. In contrast, the buckwheat popcorn was crunchy, the foam airy, and the mushroom powder boasted a slight hint of acidity. Each bite, wherever you scoop, was rich in texture and flavour.
Cevennes Onion – Waffle, Parmesan
For Chef Lidakevicius, from a specific type of vegetable to a specific origin of spice, everything is carefully curated and thought out. The lyonnaise pickled Cevenne onion is caramelised to a slight sweetness while keeping a soft texture. Its dark roasted surface accentuates a garden-inspired plating. Green leaf and lavender purple petals sit on top of tiny, tender droplets of roasted purée and gel made from pine vinegar, giving a refreshing taste that cut through the tangy parmesan sauce with yuzu kosho and herb oil. To give it a sharp contrast to the heavy dish, the Quinta dos Carvalhais Encruzado white wine brings a floral and acidity to the palate. Then, a bite-sized, savoury, freshly cooked garlic waffle to collect all the leftovers from the creamy and rich sauce beautifully ends the gastronomic course.
Onion Squash Dumplings – Curry Sause, Green Lentils
Sitting on a beautiful bed of ivory-yellow curry sauce, the main course – onion squash dumplings – was delicious. Each dumpling is decorated with a floral printed squash and puree that is topped with a dainty purple flower. The thin dumpling skin hugged the soft and sweet squash that exploded into the mouth with a soft bite. With the creamy curry sauce and herb oil, giving a gentle touch of herbaceous aromas, Chef Lidakevicius artfully accentuates the onion squash’s natural nutty and sweetening taste. Next to the picturesque plate, a generous scoop of green lentils topped with buckwheat popcorn gives a contrasting, crunchy texture. All is then paired with a Sebastiani Zinfandel red wine for an enlightening raspberry aroma, and acidic and tannin berry flavour.
Neal's Yard Selection of 3 Cheese
Time passes swiftly as the dining scene still feels like an escape from the busy market yet remains lively in the kitchen. The selection of 3 cheeses from Neal's Yard takes a break from the tasting menu. The charcoal and wheat cracker accentuates the tanginess and strong flavours of the cheddar cheese, blue cheese and soft cheese. The grapes and cucumber paint the cheese board in vivid colours and tastes.
Blood Orange – Valrhona Dark Chocolate
The theme of flowers and nature runs throughout the gastronomic experience. The intricately curated tasting menu finishes off with a Sicilian blood orange made with 70% Valrhona dark chocolate. To say it was an absolute masterpiece from the sculpture-like plating to the fine execution of marrying chocolate’s bitterness and orange’s sourness would be an understatement. The blood orange sorbet is icy with a gentle sourness; the bitter gel and jam made from orange are rich in the fruit's natural sweet tart; the luxurious dark chocolate and aero are made from exquisite and refined cacao. It is refreshing and beguiling from plate to the palette.
Fight THE SYSTEM
In this captivating dining scene filled with culinary creativity, from the 15th to the 25th of February, Chef Lidakevicius decides to take a step back from the classical, picture-perfect fine dining to focus on the 'surplus'. While the regular tasting menu is a celebration of quality and fresh produce, the tasting menu during these nine days will be of the 'surplus' produce. This is a response to the melancholic air of the nation from the endless waves of crisis after crisis, and to 'set aside cost and celebrate value and have some fun in our own way', said the multi-talented chef who is ready to take on this exciting project and bring his gastronomy to everyone.
At almost half of its usual price, the tasting menu will be changing daily depending on the ingredients available from the surplus of the restaurant's suppliers. It will be a thrilling, unique and beautiful fine dining experience!
Address: 43, Borough Market, London SE1 9AH, United Kingdom | Website: restaurant.turnipsboroughmarket.com | Phone: +44 20 7357 8356 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @TurnipsBorough | Twitter: @turnipsborough