PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
The Potting Shed reminds me of family camping holidays. The smell of heavy, wood fire smoke lingers in the air, seeping into diners' clothes. The bar staff rock around in tartan flannelettes and beanies and diners don't sit stiff in their chairs, they lean back, feet splayed out. Platters of chacurterie, bowls of olives and forgotten about menus lay around on the tables.
I have time to observe all this because I'm left awkwardly standing in the entrance area, trying to get the attention of a waiter. Should I just take a seat myself? I give up on the beige apronned waitresses and get the barman's attention before being whisked away to a corner table where hanging pot plants create a semi-private dining refuge. A tin of hot cider is placed in my palms, hints of cinnamon and vanilla warning off the niggling signs of oncoming cold. Ahh, this is where all those people I was watching earlier have been. Happy, content.
The menu reflects Head chef Kahlil Rogers-Perazzo's ingredients-first style of cooking. Steamed black mussels swim in a fragrant tomato sofrito with chunks of chorizo, that provide an unusual contrast to the slipperiness of the mussel meat. The sofrito itself is a little too sweet especially with the mussels but the saltiness of the chorizo and the garlicky garlic bread works well. I want to eat the dish twice as fast as I physically can, pushing open each mussel shell, scooping out the flesh. Come with a group and order dishes to share such as a black barley salad with candied walnuts and pesto or high-personality sliders of Kurobuta pork belly with kim chi and mayo.