Blue Frog is not a dining destination. Being a nightclub, it’s best known as a space to hear new and, often, young musicians and also for curating an eclectic selection of international artists. The food, in fact, is mostly incidental to the experience; bites that you absent-mindedly nibble on while you nurse a beer and listen to the music.
Keeping this in mind Blue Frog’s new menu has been adapted to include a larger and more varied selection of starters. They’ve also introduced a fantastic offer where all items (except their signature dishes which are marked as Frog Favourites) are 50% off for lunch and happy hours (between 6.30 – 8.30pm). This should provide a good incentive to saunter in during the earlier, quieter part of the day.
There’s plenty to choose from the large one-page menu and you can easily make a meal from just the starters. While the quality of much of what we ordered ranged from good to fantastic the dishes that failed, failed spectacularly. So, here goes
I really don’t get dishes like these: the beauty of a prawn lies as much in its texture as its flavour. When you butterfly-cut a prawn you’re sacrificing the beautiful firmness for a more evocative presentation but, with the right coating, the character of the prawn still comes through. However, when you coat them with something as crisp as corn flakes, the prawn is suppressed and what you end up eating is crunchy batter.
While I appreciate and understand the chef’s desire to do something different with a trendy ingredient, I don’t think the result justifies the innovation. Cutting a nice, plump, fatty cut of meat like pork belly into thin slices and then batter-frying it robs it of its succulence turning it into something that tastes pretty much like cardboard.
Not a very elegant presentation, but the squid was quite tasty and the flavours accentuated by the lovely smoky aroma of fried curry leaves and tiny bursts of pungency from the mustard. Could have been cooked a tad less.
One of the most fabulous dishes in terms of taste and texture, though a little weak on design. The multi-grain puff was light with an immense depth of flavour; the brie baked soft, but not runny and the sweetness of the compote matched that of the cheese. The tarragon looked nice but didn’t add much flavour. The only flaw was in arranging the cheese and compote at either end of the puff rather than one on top of the other. As a result, you got a mouthful of each individually, but not both simultaneously. I rearranged my portion and was quite happy with the result.
A pretty good rendition of an all-time favourite, you can check all the tick boxes with this one. Spicy, yes. Cheese, yesyes. Deep-fried, yes. Essentially, a stuffed bhajiya, it’s the perfect starter for anyone who wants something familiar and friendly.
Though the emphasis of the menu is on starters I felt the main course had all the stars…
The baked Fish Provencal was simply marvellous. Served on a bed of tomato sauce, the fish was cooked just right – firm to the touch, moist and full of flavour and the stroke of genius was the garnish of sauteed lentils on top. It introduced a completely new texture and taste to the dish.
Another brilliantly executed dish. Asked for the steak to be done medium-rare and it was served nice and pink on the inside. The mushroom and marrow sauce bringing a soft umami undertone to the rich flavours of the beef.
Unquestionably the highlight of the evening. I wish I had ordered it first because at this point I was pretty full and couldn’t do full justice to the serving. Enveloped in a sweet-mildly sour glaze the meat was tender and almost falling off the bone. I’d have doggy-bagged it, if I could. The blue cheese dressing didn’t help much but it didn’t hurt either.
This meal was at the Invitation of Blue Frog to sample their new menu