DISH OF THE TISH
There’s something about walking into a swish restaurant at lunchtime that feels really indulgent. Yet for all its swish indulgence, Tish in Belsize Park is relaxed, buzzy and comfortable – so comfortable, in fact, that the two hours allocated me by the parking gendarmerie flew by so fast I barely had time to enjoy dessert – but more of that later.
My friend Brigit and I chatted with the smartly suited and charming manager Dan, who told us of his journey to Belsize Park via Australia – where he was born, Israel – to which he made Aliyah and London – where he ran a group of sushi restaurants before taking the reins at newly-opened Tish.
Tish is like the Ivy Cafe/The Wolseley in that it’s a Grand Cafe with glamorous decor, beautiful tableware, stylish staff, a varied menu with east European influences, a wide-ranging wine list and mid-to-high-end prices. Oh, it happens to be kosher (dairy-free), which is brilliant if you are kosher and of no relevance if you’re not, because you simply wouldn’t notice. Neither the quality of the food, the range of food, the presentation of the food nor the pricing is in any way reflective of the restrictions placed on the kitchen.
It being a bright, sunny, ‘crisp white’ kind of day (the sun was pouring into the restaurant, accenting all the beautiful jewel tones in the furnishings), I had a Spanish Macabeo and Brigit had a Californian Pinot Grigio. Between us we shared a stunning Foie Gras which came with an apple, pear & ginger chutney and toasted Challah, plus a plate of smoked salmon with avocado and rye bread. First class – as you would expect. Third rate smoked salmon ain’t gonna cut it with this clientele! My tarragon and lemon grilled (very plump!) poussin came with a chopped salad and za’atar pita and Brigit’s huge, crispy golden chicken schnitzel came with a rocket salad. We shared a devilishly good portion of truffle chips and al dente green beans with chilli and garlic.
Menu consultant and patisserie expert Mikael came over to help us make up our minds about dessert. He is the executive pastry chef for Paul, among other places, and has totally risen to the challenge of dairy-free desserts. He brought out a wonderful individual apple pie with oat creme fraiche and vanilla ice-cream and an absolutely magnificent tiramisu. I normally steer clear of non-dairy creamy desserts as they just don’t work for me but this one… wow. Rich, intense coffee-soaked sponge and velvety smooth Tia Maria sabayon, presented in a very unusual dish (you’ll have to order one to see!).
Tish was an all-round winner for me. I will definitely go back, as the three ladies on the next table were tucking into the most amazing looking salt beef sandwiches (carbs at lunch time – it’s a thing!) and I happen to be married to someone who would greatly appreciate those. I also rather fancy Challah French toast for breakfast.
Go – it’s really fab. You won’t be disappointed.
Tish offers 15% discount to cardholders Monday – Friday. Restrictions apply. Click here for details