In my opinion, Neal’s Yard, in the heart of Covent Garden, has always been a wildly under-used area, with restaurants not managing to have long-lives in the past and corners of the courtyard remaining empty for months at a time. That all looks set to change and new restaurant Native, is likely to be a part of that movement.
The space itself, is simple and rustic, with white wash walls and unpolished wood tables. Foliage and wild flower arrangements serve as decoration. It is the perfect backdrop for the star of the show, which is of course the food. Locally sourced, wild, foraged, sustainable; all the words and phrases we want to hear nowadays when we are choosing dining establishments. With a heavy focus on game and wild foods, Native is making the most of the delights we have here in Britain and is proving once again, that we no longer need to look to our European counterparts for top-end, delicious food.
British food has had a revival in recent years, allowing foodies to enjoy fine local dishes, with perhaps a little more flavor and refinement than we experienced in times past. Game has once again become very popular as well as venison and British beef, all ingredients that Native are utilizing in a very clever way. Expect a range of British wines, beers and ciders on the menu too.
We enjoyed tasters of venison atop tostados, crispy-fried pheasant and wild pesto glazed carrots, all extremely delicious. To finish off there were delightful little filo cups of rhubarb and custard; a fresh take on a classic flavor combo. Their homemade sloe gin and champagne drinks were a perfect compliment.
It’s hardly surprising that one of the founders came from the River Cottage HQ in Devon, an institution which celebrates seasonal British food and highlights the benefits of home-grown, local produce. Now officially open, be sure to grab a table in Native’s basement dining area and enjoy the best of British with their inventive but classic menu.