Best Places to Eat in the City: James Cochran EC3

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We headed down to James Cochran EC3, Bank’s newest and most talked about restaurants, to see what had gotten people talking. Here’s what we made of James Cochran’s latest iteration of show stopping food.

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When James Cochran announced that his newest restaurant, the rather aptly names James Cochran EC3, would be opening in October, I was rather excited. After the overwhelming success of James Cochran N1 (you can see a theme here), we rejoiced when we found one would be on our doorstop. Finally, I would get to sample the menu. Finally, I would be able to taste the delicate thought processes behind every bite of each course. Finally, and more importantly, I would see what all the fuss was about.

On a cold November night, my guest and I headed down to the restaurant. Perched on the corner, almost directly underneath the Gherkin, James Cochran EC3 is a place that has you feeling special from the moment you walk in. Welcoming staff greet us down the wooden steps and lead us through the restaurant onto a table in the back corner. A sommelier chooses a wine for us and explains what courses we will be led through this evening. The excitement has well and truly started.

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Celeriac, douglas fir, Wiltshire truffle, apple
PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Jill Photography

Our first course arrives and is something that sets the tone perfectly. A small but perfectly balanced dish of Cornish picked white crab, pumpkin, ginger, peanuts. Delicate, packed full of flavour and, quite frankly, beautiful. In a few short, but ever so sweet bites, the first course is over and we are led into the second course.

When I picture celeriac, I often associate it with Masterchef hopefuls who have never seen it before but think “well if it’s good enough for John Torode to use, it’s good enough for me.” More often than not, they either cock it up, or don’t know how to pair it with the rest of the dish. Thankfully, the professionals do.

A celeriac, Douglas fir, Wiltshire truffle, and apple dish is presented before us. This small but well layered and exquisite to look at dish is as tasty as it is eye catching. Four ingredients, well thought out and well prepared mean that less is definitely more on this dish. Now we are slowly led into the main event and what I have been thinking about since the moment I saw the full menu.

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Braised neck and roast saddle of Herdwick lamb, white beetroot, charcoal, bonito, pomegranate, ewe’s milk
PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Jill Photography

The above image sums up the entire experience of James Cochran EC3. It also summarises everything about the menu which we loved. Traditional cuts of meat with garden classics, given a modern twist by adding unusual ingredients. This braised neck and roast saddle of Herdwick lamb with white beetroot, charcoal, bonito, pomegranate and ewe’s milk was nothing short of divine.

With the end of the meal approaching, and having been given such big flavours throughout, we were presented with a show stopping dessert. Three small quenneles sorbet presented with raspberrys and passion fruit on the side. A beautiful end to a culinary masterclass.

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Trio of sorbets
PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Jill Photography

My expectations of James Cochran EC3 were high but they were all exceeded by a country mile. Traditional methods of cooking, partnered with beautiful ingredients, and even better wine, meant that this was a meal I was truly stunned by. The meal was worth the price tag it came with (and this price tag wasn’t exactly small) clocking up a cool £170 for two with two bottles of wine and four courses, but this was definitely worth it.

This is a perfect restaurant for date night, anniversaries, birthdays and any other special occasion that you might be planning on. I can’t wait to head back.

What to Wear

This is a restaurant that requires you to dress smartly. A good overcoat, combined with a polo shirt and some nice corduroy trousers will certainly do the trick. Going midweek means that you might be able to get away with dressing slightly more casual than normal, but it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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