Restaurant review: a taste of 40 The Hill (My first)

Back in June 2012 I started as a Culture Writer for The Upcoming and this was my very first review…

On a hot day, a glass of wine in a friendly neighbourhood bistro is what summer is all about. Whether you’re looking for a meal after a theatre performance, or dying for a classy hangover brunch, 40 The Hill offers a new found relaxed atmosphere at the foot of Wimbledon Hill. Image

At a glance, it appears as just another up-and-coming wine bar, competing with the many others along the hill. But as you walk in, this new arrival charms you with its light-filled rooms, classic bentwood chairs and the wide array of wine bottles on display.

As well as a full à la carte service, the restaurant offers several special menus, including the five-course summer events tasting menu I had the pleasure of devouring. It claims to showcase the best of 40 The Hill and exhibit Head Chef Pearson’s leaning on British food, sprinkled with Spanish, Italian and French influences. Image

Pan-fried hand dived scallops with pork belly and apple & vanilla puree was the first of five courses. All we can say is that we would have personally dived into the sea to get those scallops ourselves! We thought the pork belly was unnecessary, but the sweet puree more than complemented the fish. The second course served was organic salmon fillet with English asparagus and saffron hollandaise. This was executed well, promoting the restaurant’s “ethos” of sourcing the best local produce. Image

The size of the next plate sounded more daunting than it actually was – seared shorthorn ongletport braised ox cheek, horseradish cream and roast garlic mash, but the meat was that tender we would have happily eaten more. Disappointingly, the course of ham hock & rabbit terrine in this tasting menu was not made available; no reason or substitute course was given. Image

However, the dessert course of vanilla panna cotta, English strawberries & basil syrup, with black pepper shortbread left a lot to be desired. Strange but interesting, there should have been more of the basil syrup. The Classic Cuvee, Nyetimber accompanying the dessert certainly redeemed this course, as it’s apparently boasted to be one of the Queen’s favourites – light, sparkling and refreshing. Image

With a fantastic award-winning wine list and extensive food menus, 40 The Hill offers almost too much choice for its guests. If you still can’t make up your mind on what to eat, its sister restaurant Reds Bar and Grill resides on the other side of Wimbledon Station, offering great burgers and cheeky cocktails.

Slowly but surely, these South London brigades are making a name for themselves to the local people and businesses.

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