For avid brunchers and foodies of London, Daisy Green needs no introduction. Their signature Aussie-inspired cafés are a force of nature as far as weekend breakfast is concerned.
I had already been to one of their quirkiest cafés, Darcie and May Green, some time ago. This time we went to their newest outpost and for a slightly different experience – dinner. It was also Kris’s first time in a Daisy Green café. Being half Aussie himself, I thought it was high time he got introduced to this London/Aussie confluence.
The new place is called Scarlett Green and is in Soho. Inside, it was fairly spacious and well-lit, set on two levels with a sort of angular, stripped back, purposefully unfinished look to it. There was some quirky, rebellious art work in bright neon greens and pinks to contrast the mostly grey walls. Oversized photographs of the iconic Bondi beach evoked the desire for the sun, sea and sand (and stirred more hatred for the dull grey London weather). The whole space is a homage and celebration of the quintessential Aussie lifestyle of fun, laid-back and relaxed.
The dinner menu comprised of mostly small and large plates rather than the conventional starter/main/dessert. But then nothing is conventional about the Daisy Green collection of cafés.
We kicked off with the Beef Shin Cigarillos, Tamarind Sauce. The meat had been slow cooked in red wine for hours, and had all the texture and flavours that comes with the low and slow. The sharp and sweet chutney offset the meaty heaviness nicely. I would have preferred the pastry casing to be slightly less cooked, but overall it was a good start.
Next was the Seared Beef Fillet Tataki, Ponzu, Wasabi Mayo, Avocado, Candied Chilli. The beef itself was beautifully seared and maintained its soft, rare texture without tasting raw. It came with a bunch of scallions and other fresh herbs and was bursting with fragrant, Asian flavours.
The absolute star of the small plates and a must-order was Mamma J’s House Fermented Yoghurt Potato Flatbread, Smashed Avocado. The robust potato pancakes were freshly cooked and served piping hot, contrasting perfectly with the coolness of the accompanying smashed avocado. It was simple yet so ultra-satisfying that we ordered a second round.
Moving onto the mains, we concentrated on the BBQ section. The Harissa Prawns, although slightly overcooked (which I mentioned to the team immediately and they acknowledged), had bang-on spicy flavours and punchy heat. We ordered double portions and pretty much devoured it all.
The Prime Lamb Cutlets were gorgeous too and I would order one to two each. The soft meat was marinated and infused with that herby crust. Paired with the aforementioned Harissa Prawns and we had our very own creation of surf-n-turf.
But the biggest shout out goes to the inventive Grilled Baby Gem, Charred Shallot Mayonnaise, Dill, Linseed, Crispy Chicken Skin. As far as salads go, this was the ultimate fiesta! It had the lovely smoky flavours coming from the charred gem lettuce, textures from the linseed and herby flavours of the dill, all swimming in the most aromatic broth. The puffed-up crispy chicken skin had the texture of a thin wonton, a great bite and the flavour of home cooked roast. I think this dish epitomises the enduring popularity of Daisy Green.
Indeed, the food is a happy mish-mash, inspired from a global palette. The cooking is excellent and the service was ultra-friendly. On the day of our visit (bank holiday weekend), the staff had been working non-stop since morning, serving an average of 90 people at one time for brunch. To say they were exhausted would have been an understatement. Yet, there was no cutting corners on the service. They greeted us with the same energy and enthusiasm as if we were their first customers of the day!
We had an enjoyable time and we were pleasantly surprised that a place revered for its epic brunches can churn out a decent dinner too! Go check them out, whatever time of day it is!
Location : 4 Noel Street, Soho, London W1F 8GB
More information can be found here.