If you haven’t heard of the name Adam Handling, you will be hearing of him a lot more in the not too distant future. Apart from appearing as a finalist in Masterchef 2013, he has been winning numerous accolades all over the UK. 2016 is set to be an important year for him, as he launches his own range of olive oil and sherry vinegar and he has just opened The Frog in Shoreditch.
Set in Ely’s Yard, Old Truman Brewery, this is the perfect synergy between creativity and cookery. The outdoor conservatory area is calming, arty and befitting of the independent nature of the area; whilst the indoor restaurant is more of a blank canvas as they look to exhibit a changing display of artwork from young artists. Adam, himself only 27, is keen to work with other up and coming creatives such as DJs, young wine-makers and food producers. You must check out their curious-looking urban cultivator, where they can produce their own herbs to supply the kitchen and bar.
We went along to try their bottomless brunch package, which is extremely reasonable at £25pp to include an extremely well-executed brunch dish and unlimited Prosecco and Bloody Mary. What is particularly admirable is their ability to accept customer feedback being a young, up and coming restaurant; when we went on the first week, it was charged at a higher price and offering unlimited food. This clearly wasn’t going to work as most of the dishes included eggs, so no one was going to eat multiple plates of egg-based dishes and pay a higher price. They have listened to customer feedback and refined it to the current package.
You might sample less of the Asian influences in the brunch menu as compared to the evening tasting menu, but there is no less finesse in the creation of the dishes. The poached egg yolk had just the right amount of viscosity, the sourdough is just that much crunchier and fresher than any other offering in the area and the smoked haddock we tried was firm yet tender. The dishes I would recommend picking would either be the fish option or the extremely well-flavoured beef potato hash, confit onions, fried egg: both dishes really show off the dedication to detail shown by the kitchen team.
The Prosecco and Bloody Mary are very popular options for brunch lovers, but I hope they will add back their kombucha to the bottomless brunch offerings. Kombucha is a variety of fermented, gently effervescent and sweetened black or green tea drinks and at The Frog, it is all made in-house. It is a very refreshing choice for those who are after a health-conscious beverage.
There are plans to open more The Frog branches throughout London. The Shoreditch branch might be one small step for Adam Handling but it is a giant leap for the UK culinary scene.