No puns here, just the rare and sincere proclamation that John Javier (aka @sex.pesto, aka one of the most exciting young chefs in the world) has opened his first London restaurant, The Tent At The End Of The Universe – and it is incredible.
It first cut the ribbon in February as an invite-only dining space for musicians, chefs, and their friends and family to lay low. Now, the clandestine wooden slatted doors are letting the great-unwashed into this new world of culinary and sensory delight.
As soon as you walk in, it feels special, hushed, and exclusive. It’s as moody as a saké bar in a Tokyo back alley, yet as slick as a hyped pop-up restaurant in Brooklyn. The space is decorated like a Bedouin tent with a starry sky above. Floating moons and orange mushrooms give the room its ambient glow, while a DJ sits and plays beats out the cutting-edge German Martion-Audiosysteme at a perfect decibel level. The atmosphere is deliciously layered.
To give a little more background on the chef, John Javier is a Filipino-born Australian-raised chef, who plied his trade at places like Quay, Noma, and Momofuko Seiobo, before opening the Chinese restaurant MASTER in Sydney, and then fronting Happy Paradise in Hong Kong. If none of those names ring a bell, just know that they rang the bells of food critics & punters alike, who plied them with effusive praise.
The weekly changing menu here takes a Middle-Eastern slant, but frequently takes you on a more expansive global journey. First will likely come an array of crudités, dips, shish kebabs, flatbreads, and a spatchcocked quail with a Hong Kong special “family sauce” where the quail becomes a crudité itself. The goat’s curd and beetroot Borani, along with the inventive tzatziki splashed with wakame oil, inject sumptuous and unexpected elements from the off.
There are two dishes on this menu with the power to forever alter your neurochemistry. The first is a melted Saganaki cheese dish, which treads in pomegranate molasses sprinkled with pistachios and herbs. The second is a succulent schnitzel with a crispy batter that sat on a bed of katsuobushi mayo. We recommend booking therapy afterwards just to get over it. As for drinks, there is a fantastic cocktail menu plus the wine list is concise yet highly considered.
Go to the trippy website and get yourself a seat. Otherwise, you will likely have to wait and pray for availability at the end of another universe.
Words: Harvey James
NOTE: The Tent At The End Of The Universe is open now, Wednesday to Saturday. You can find out more, and book a table at the website right here.
The Tent At The End Of The Universe | 17 Little Portland Street, W1W 8BP