Manuka restaurant LondonPhoto credit Issy Croker

RESTAURANT NAME: Manuka Kitchen

CITY, COUNTRY: London, England.

CUISINE: Modern British inventions.

BEST FOR: Lovers of fresh, seasonal food dressed up to the nines.

RECOMMENDED DAY AND TIME TO VISIT: Brunch offers the usual delights with some interesting add-ons such as manuka salmon royale and bavette steak, but the changing lunch/dinner menu is the real reason to check in.

AVERAGE PRICE PER MEAL: £25, not including drinks. The cocktails go for around £6 and the extensive wine list offers nothing above the £30 mark.

ATMOSPHERE: Unpretentiously elegant. The focus is entirely upon the meticulously designed menu, and the restaurant houses it with a light, graceful ease.

DECOR: Airy European bistro (maybe Paris, maybe Berlin) bedecked with emerald leather seats, bronze lighting fixtures, scrubbed wooden tables and a partially open kitchen. It has all the fundamentals of a perfect breezy lunch spot, complete with glass jars of sunny flowers and floor-to-ceiling windows.

STAFF SERVICE IN THREE WORDS: Diligent, knowledgeable, courteous.

AVERAGE WAITING TIME FOR A MEAL: Enough time to enjoy your Rhubarb Bellini, not enough time to get angsty.

BEST STARTERS: We shared the heirloom carrots with quinoa, goat’s cheese and pine nuts, and the salmon cured in lemongrass and manuka honey. The salmon was delicate and fresh, topped with ribbons of cooling cucumber, while the silky carrots proved surprising despite their simplicity. It is clear that fine produce is key to this place, and the difference can be tasted instantly.

BEST MAINS: The chicken with prunes, sweet corn velouté and crushed potato was delicate, light and tied together by splashes of aromatic port. The crispy sea bass also delighted with its crispy, salted skin, ‘orange vegetables’ and a vivid samphire aoli. The servings could be a little more generous, but the flavours soar enough to satisfy.

BEST DESSERTS: Our homemade dark chocolate and manuka honey truffles arrived in a little Harrogate Toffee tin that made tucking in an act nothing short of destruction. Bitter chocolate dusted with cocoa and accompanied by crumbled honeycomb was Nirvana for the chocolate devotee. We ate them accompanied by a wonderfully dense and glossy peanut butter, chocolate and pretzel tart, which we took away with us. It simply couldn’t be abandoned.

WHAT DOES THE DRINK MENU OFFER: An excellent bloody Mary, a bar stocked with spirits, and colourful wine list devised to compliment the food perfectly.

DO YOU NEED TO BOOK A TABLE: Probably a safe bet judging by the brimming tables on the weekday lunchtime we visited.

WHO GOES THERE? Foodies, families, and Fulham-ites.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: With so many street food spots cropping up around London, it’s great to be reminded of the joy of modern fine dining. Though stylish and tasteful, Manuka remains entirely unpretentious, and offers up delicious and rousing food in well-groomed, relaxed surroundings. And with a gin bar opening downstairs any day now, there is even more reason to visit.

WHERE IS IT? 510 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5NJ, 020 7736 7588, manukakitchen.com 

See more of our restaurants picks here.

Words by Meg Abbott Photos by Issy Croker

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