Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sustainable Deliciousness at Season Kitchen & Dining Room, Finsbury Park

Have I told you about Season in Finsbury Park? I love it. It's becoming one of my favorite restaurants in London. And luckily for me, it's right near Tom and Cristy's place, so it's likely that I'll be back frequently - especially now that their adorable baby is home from the hospital and I'm jostling for a place in line to be a babysitter. Aunty Angloyankophile has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

But I digress.

Unlike my other restaurant reviews, I'm going to give you a list of reasons why I love Season so much - plain and simple.

1. Their bread. Is. Amazing. Dense, nutty, with just a hint of sweetness, I would eat it up all by myself, if I didn't have to be polite and share it with my table guests. (I actually wanted to ask for seconds, but I thought that would be a) rude b) greedy and c) all of the above)

2. Their menu (which is short and simple) changes regularly, according to whatever produce is fresh and in season (get it?). The ingredients are sourced as locally as possible (which reminds me of that slightly-annoying-because-it's-so-OTT Portlandia sketch where they leave the restaurant in search of the farm where their free-range chicken is raised and become absorbed into a cult), which means that what you're eating is sustainable.

3. Their bathrooms are cute (yes, I took a picture in the bathroom - so judge me):

4. Their wine list is (like the food menu) short, but sweet. Selections have been carefully chosen to complement the flavors of the food and they are explicit about having a low mark-up policy on the wine. I like that a lot.

5. They're really nice. They make you feel welcome. I mean, you'd be surprised at how difficult it is to greet guests with a smile when they walk through the door of your restaurant but APPARENTLY, this is REALLY hard to do in London. So, when I get even an inkling of friendliness - like, genuinely, "Hi, I really care about your experience here" kind of friendliness - at a restaurant, I fall head over heels in love.

6. The food is delicious. So, I ordered the clam and bacon chowder last night as my main and the smoked salmon with blood orange and crispy seaweed (a magical combination, if you were wondering) to start - and it was all just, utterly, delicious.

Sure, the clams were a laughable size compared to those we have in the Pacific Northwest, but, considering that they're only working with the ingredients they have, the sweet yet smokey flavor of the soup won out and for the rest of my meal, I was in seventh heaven.

7. They do a fantastic early bird deal: any main course plus a glass of house wine/beer/soft drink for £15 before 7 pm. I think this is important because I like to see restaurants offer terrifically cooked, fresh food that is as accessible and affordable as possible (though I am acutely aware that £15 for a meal may be a splurge or totally impossible for some).

8. The restaurant is always buzzing, but never too noisy. I like enjoying my lunch or dinner in a place where I don't have to shout (and then subsequently become hoarse or even worse, develop a sore throat later on) to be heard. The ambience of Season fosters a lovely and unassuming, but lively, environment where you can enjoy your dinner, but also the presence of your table companions.

So there you have it: all the reasons why I love Season and why I highly encourage you to try it for yourself. Sure, it's a little outside of central London (N4), but it's a 5 (or less?) minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station. And totally worth it.

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