Rhubarb, meringue and cream, Rochelle Canteen, Greater Arnold Circus

Rochelle Canteen, Greater Arnold Circus, lunch

Menu from a bring-your-own-wine lunch at Rochelle Canteen in Greater Arnold Circus, East London:


Pickled mackerel, salsify, carrots and frisee salad

Roast chicken, aioli and chips

Rhubarb, meringue and cream

If wholesome food is what you’re after, the entire menu at Rochelle Canteen is it.

Fergus Henderson’s wife Margot’s take on food is one of rustic authenticity. The backbone is classical with a focus on the ingredients. And each day, the menu changes according to the ingredients, with just a few things on offer.

There’s that saying about people who don’t know food ordering chicken at restaurants but I’m really glad I ordered the roast chicken on this occasion. The incredible memory of it haunted me for weeks afterwards.

The fat of the chicken has been rendered down, leaving just the crispy skin and moist flesh within. The chips, chunky and crispy, were the perfect vessels for the super garlicky aioli. That aioli, also flavouring the simply salted chicken, made quite a dish.

We brought our own wine. Quite a lot of it. And it matched remarkably well with some of the Champagnes on offer and then the chardonnays.

For dessert, a sort of deconstructed Eton mess, signed off the meal with its fine blend of sourness and sweetness.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.


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