Rupert Hohwieler 01/05/23
Counter 71 | A Seasonal Tasting Menu For Dinner, Cocktails In A Basement Bar For After…
Fenn is fenn-ito.
The Fulham restaurant closed its doors at the end of April, and was one of the best places to eat in the SW region. However, the more upbeat domino effect from this closure is that Fenn’s head chef Joe Laker is set to open his own solo restaurant in Shoreditch, where he plans to unleash his unfettered creativity on London’s discerning dining scene.
Laker’s cooking at Fenn
He’s bookmarked the space on Nile Street that once housed the Duke of Wellington pub, with an opening slated for June. He’s calling it ‘Counter 71’ (because you sit around a countertop and it’s on 71 Nile Street) and the food he’s conjuring up will take the form of a tasting menu where the idea is showcase the best of what comes from the British Isles, in a very contemporary, very ambitious way. Counter 71 will have room for 16 people – each person propped up around a raised marble counter, watching the grilling, sharp knifework, plate presentation and everything in between unfold from an open kitchen – with leaked dishes so far including brown crab donut and scallop roe; cheese and Marmite scones; langoustine broth and pickled carrot; and a dessert of chocolate parfait, yoghurt sorbet and buckwheat crumb. There’ll be more of course, but revealing the whole thing would spoil a bit of the excitement…
It has the making of one of those what-did-we-just-witness experiences that you’ll want to dissemble and discuss in depth with your dining partner and for that, they have just the place. Downstairs will be Lowcountry, a basement cocktail bar that draws from US mid-coast areas like Georgia and North Carolina (Laker actually grew up in Alabama and South Carolina). The drinks here, besides sharing American influences, will be created using science-y techniques like fat-washing and infusions; one drink, an old-fashioned riff named the ‘Fat-Fashioned will feature bacon-washed bourbon, maple syrup and creole bitters, and another, a Manhattan, will be based with blueberry-infused whiskey. Designing them is Ryan Sheehan, who worked with Laker at Fenn. He’s not bad at the mixology malarky either and if you’ve not been to Fenn before…
…well, you’ll find out in June.
NOTE: Counter 71 is set to open in June. They will already be taking bookings at the end month and you can find out more on their website, here
Counter 71 | 71 Nile Street, N1 7RD
Looking to keep a running diary of all the capital’s new openings? What a coincidence, so are we… Here are all the London restaurants opening soon.
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71 Nile Street, Shoreditch, N1 7RD
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