We all have slightly different requirements for a great dining experience but usually it all comes down to the basics: the company you keep, atmosphere, service and of course the meal itself. The Imperial, a gastropub in Fulham, fits the bill for me with an added bonus of having a wonderfully photogenic interior to swoon over.
A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to dinner, along with 8 others, by Giulia & The Imperial for the launch of their new menu. One quick glance and I could immediately appreciate the impressive tasting menu head chef, Jason Cole, put together for us – it basically included all my favorite foods! I happily put my detox on hold for a 6 course feast with old and new friends.
The Imperial put on quite a spread for us using local ingredients and a mindset on sustainability. I especially appreciated the chef’s use of ingredients such as barley foam and black pudding puree, inventive without feeling contrived.
The confit duck yolk with pickled mushrooms and chive puree was a big hit amongst our table of gastronomers. I was particularly partial to the braised pork shoulder with black pudding puree and beer & pearl barley jus; the fat melding in with the chunk of the pork and a touch of the slight grit of black pudding is perfect for the comfort seeker in me. The dish of pan fried wild sea bream was also excellent paired with bold blackened leeks, cauliflower puree, samphire and kale foam.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the ooh and ahhs from the table when the colorful platters of szechuan glazed whole roast duck appeared before us. At this point I was much too full but couldn’t resist my favorite bird. It was a great confluence of flavors & textures of perfectly moist duck, fragrant coconut rice, bitterness from purple sprouting broccoli mopped up in a red pepper sauce.
We ended the evening with an unusual but decadent chocolate & barley pot combination. I should point out that I’ve never had so much barley on one menu before but it’s a welcome change.
I hope to make it back to The Imperial soon since I heard they put on a pretty good brunch. Since they also have great space in the garden and upstairs dining room for parties I’ll just hope to get invited to one in the meantime.