Much like 'reduce reuse recycle' has been etched in Millennials's minds since we were knee-high, Generation Z will have 'sustainability' buzzed into their brains from birth. And while avocados from South America and Spanish blueberries make brunches all sorts of wonderful, London's restaurant scene is embracing a more environmentally friendly approach to eating out. With a hop and skip down Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, there's one such place doing just that. Set in an art gallery, The Cutting Room is working with local producers and suppliers to bring central London low-mile dinners; we went along to check it out for ourselves.
The first thing you need to know about The Cutting Room is that this not your average restaurant, rather, it's an eatery in an art gallery. White washed walls, strings of fairy lights in little alcoves, and bleached tables and chairs all lend the space a charming cottage feel. Maybe it’s the open kitchen and the flicker from its fire or the wafts of homecooked food, but we could be a million miles outside of London. The team add to the countryside vibes with actual friendliness, chatting to each and every guest, happy to offer advice and crack a joke.
Menu-wise, plates are divided up by meat (sourced from Home Counties-based Flock & Herd), sea (sustainable Marrfish), land and - most importantly - cheese. As someone who counts the latter as one of her five a day, I was quite easily talked into ordering the cheese board by UK-based Carron Lodge (£15.95), piled with the likes of Cote Hill Blue, Charcoal Cheddar Briquette, Godminster Organic Vintage Cheddar, Tomme De Savoie, and smoked goats cheese. All delicious but the charcoal cheddar was the most interesting, with its black colour and intense smoky flavour.
The concept is sharing plates though this proved to be a challenge with delicious bites such as the braised lamb croquettes (£7.95), which had a crisp fried bread crumb exterior, lamb falling apart in the rich meaty juicy centre and a sweet reduction to smother each bite with. The crab and shrimp balls (£8.50) almost piqued the croquettes to top place on my dining league, accompanied by a dill caper mayo, I was hard pressed not to order a second serving. From the 'land' section of the menu, it had to be the pan roasted asparagus (£5.95) with balsamic dressing and shaved Parmesan, the veg cooked until soft and smothered in enough cheese to tempt even my meat-eating self into ideas of vegetarianism if this is the daily offering.
The team have certainly not neglected the drinks menu either, muddling a range of the cocktail classics; Tommy’s margarita, cosmopolitan, mai tai, and my absolute fave; the negroni (£10). The Cutting Room's version mixed Roku Gin, Martini Rosso and Campari, listing its health benefits as “Aids Digestion, Increases Wit” - I'm temped to order two. However, The Last Mexican (£9) sways my second choice, with chilli-infused mezcal, King's Ginger Liqueur, lychee liqueur, lime juice, agave syrup, ginger beer, and berries; it's sweet at first followed by a subtle hint of heat from the chilli, finishing our night with a bite.
Boasting about Britain is no easy feat during this tumultuous time, but when it comes to local suppliers, excellent produce and a space that supports artists, I think it's worth taking the gamble. The Cutting Room isn't the flashiest restaurant in Fitzrovia, but it shouldn't be overlooked for something fancier or more international. Homely, unfussy dining at its best, this spot is perfect for a catch-up meal, and once you're done squabbling after the last croquette, head downstairs to catch live music in the basement.