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Konstam and Konstam at the Prince Albert


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Have been slightly surprised to see no mentions yet of Konstam at the Prince Albert, which is on the corner of Acton Street and King's Cross Road. The rather awkward name of the restaurant comes from the fact that it is an off-shoot of the Konstam cafe just along the road, based in what was a pub called the Prince Albert. I believe that it's had a number of press reviews, which ranged from the negative (Fay Maschler) to the very positive (Time Out). We were very pleased to find ourselves in the contented camp.

Konstam's USP is that all (I think) of the food is grown and sourced inside the M25. While this could turn out to be a gimmick that doesn't result in good food on your plate, in fact I think it has evidently generated a real commitment to sourcing interesting ingredients and thinking hard about how they should be served. We just popped in for lunch so the only two dishes we tried were a spaetzle with wild garlic, Norbury Blue and mushrooms with a dandelion salad and sprouting broccoli, and lavender ice cream with ginger snaps. Both dishes were very tasty, and I was a big fan of the contrast between the creamy lusciousness of the spaetzle and the bitterness of the dandelion leaf salad. Bread was good and served without side plates! For a while we were the only people in the restaurant (having arrived as it opened at 12.30), so the service should have been good and it was. I have reason to think that the service would still be excellent at busier times, having popped my head round the door late one evening last week to see what the place looked like. The maitre d' could not have been more charming in showing me a menu and telling me about the restaurant, in spite of the fact that I was looking prety scruffy and trailing a whiff of lager and a bag of kebab shop chips...

The Konstam cafe is also very good and both places are well-designed (the cafe along minimal lines and the restaurant rather more glam). I believe the chef-owner, Oliver Rowe, is going to be the subject of a BBC2 series later this year.

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It's mentioned in the current issue of Restaurant Magazine with much mention of the decor, in particular the 100km of chains that connect the light fittings with the windows! It also comments on the brave decision to have so many English wines on a short menu.

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland

www.edinburghfoody.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
BBC2 from 5th June at 6.30 pm, 5 programmes on how Oliver Rowe has set up Cafe Konstantin in London

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/tv_and_radio/urbanchef_index.shtml

It's 'Konstam at Prince Albert'.

The cafe's been running for a couple of years but the programme is about setting up his restaurant in a pub a couple of doors away.

I interviewed him there, yesterday. Unbelievable interior by Thomas Heatherwick (his brother-in-law).

He came across as a really pleasant bloke, trained at Moro, a bit of a food nerd in the nicest possible way, really intense about food, food lore and food history.

There seems to be a bit of a 'Clerkenwell Axis' developing. Quality Chop and the Eagle have a long history but Moro, the weird place that used to be a butchers and now the Ambassador and Konstam are all v.good.

All very quiet, non-celebby, all related in a sort of restaurant version of a 'rock family tree'. All seem to be private startups with 'angel' style financing.

(This should really be in another thread about Clerkenwell but I no longer have the power to merge them) I really think this is the most exciting area in town for restaurants at the moment.

Oliver Rowe has had some shitty reviews which is a great pity because I like the idea of what he's doing, the place he's doing it and the low-key nature of his approach.

I certainly intend to give him the benefit of the doubt while he shakes the place down.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Yes, it'd be great if this could be merged with the existing Konstam thread.

I agree 100% with you Tim on both the interesting character of food in 'the Clerkenwell Axis' and on giving Rowe the benefit of the doubt. We really enjoyed lunch at Konstam at the Prince Albert and when I walk past in the evening it generally seems to be very busy indeed. My overall impression, which fits with your comments about the interview, was that the whole operation was directed by someone who cared a great deal about the integrity of what they were doing.

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i was actually dreading going - had put it off and off - because of what i'd been reading. 

Surely you don't listen to any of those silly restaurant reviewers, do you? :laugh:

... clanger-poo ...

I see you're after Dejan Sudjic's job then :wink:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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i was actually dreading going - had put it off and off - because of what i'd been reading. 

Surely you don't listen to any of those silly restaurant reviewers, do you? :laugh:

... clanger-poo ...

I see you're after Dejan Sudjic's job then :wink:

a) does anyone?

b) oh, i think he's safe... :biggrin:

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Oliver seems to have some influential friends to get both the BBC and Sauce, the posh communications PR, working for him.

Is it all an upper middle class conspiracy? He does look a bit like James Blunt after all

S

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