This month, my blog contributor Adrienne visited Foley’s, a neighbourhood restaurant which brings the flavours of Middle East and Asia to Fitzrovia. Their new menu of small plates and sharing dishes is inspired by the spice route from India to Europe. Here’s what Adrienne wrote about her dining experience at Foley’s Fitzrovia.
When I first heard of Foley’s Fitzrovia, I immediately pictured a restaurant serving English classics. Something about the name led me to believe that I’d be seeing a gleaming plate of fish & chips in my near future. However, upon arriving at the restaurant for a weekday lunch, I was pleasantly surprised to find something quite contrary.
Tucked into a cosy corner of Fitzrovia, Foley’s Fitzrovia exterior is playful yet chic with a bright turquoise awning and three idle barstools inviting you to grab a cocktail and have a seat outside. The décor inside is equally fun. A mix of Scandinavian hipster vibes with an array of potted succulents scattered throughout the restaurant complimented by colourful Andy Warhol pop art on the walls.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect of the menu or cuisine at this point.
Once seated, my friend and I were eager to check out the menu. To our surprise, it was full of Middle Eastern and Asian influence. Kerala Parotta, Persian chargrilled lamb tacos, Bangkok market fried fish to name a few of the unexpected dishes we would come to find.
The eclectic menu at Foley’s Fitzrovia is composed of snacks (“bits & bobs”), small plates, and larger sharing plates for 2-3 people. Everything sounded so enticing that we didn’t know how we would be able to choose just a few to try.
Luckily, Foley’s Fitzrovia made things a little easier for us by offering a weekday set lunch menu which included a glass of house wine, “bits & bobs” item, and a small plate, all for around a tenner per person. It was a great deal that we just could not pass up.
My friend and I decided to order one of each from the “bits & bobs” offerings to share: potato & leek Bajji crisps served with a tomato and jalapeno salsa and tzatziki as well as the Kerala Parotta served with fennel butter, coriander & coconut chutney, and garlic raita.
The Bajii crisps were perfectly crunchy with a kick of spice and absolutely addicting. The Parotta was buttery and hot and another successful starter, though not as flaky as authentic Kerala parathas. My friend and I could not stop going back to the crisps which were more flavourful and exciting.
For my main at Foley’s Fitzrovia, I ordered the sticky pork with tamarind BBQ glaze served with a side of apple & swede vermicelli slaw, cured red onions, and toasted cashews. My friend ordered the aubergine with pomegranate, chilli lime yogurt, date molasses, feta, and puffed quinoa. Both dishes were absolutely stunning.
The soft texture of the aubergine was complimented wonderfully by the crunch of pomegranate seeds and puffed quinoa. The dish also had an explosion of flavour with a mix of savoury from salty feta, tart from the yogurt, and sweet from the pomegranate and date molasses.
My sticky pork was equally successful. The pork was fork tender and the sweet tamarind BBQ glaze was sinfully delicious. The sweetness was counterbalanced by the acid from the slaw which was reminiscent of a refreshing Thai papaya salad. This dish was unforgettable.
All in all, I’d happily revisit Foley’s Fitzrovia and order both dishes over and over again.
We finished off the meal with espresso and the chef’s special dessert of the day which was a play on strawberry cheesecake: a mix of fresh berries, strawberry sorbet, sweet cream, and crunchy cornflakes. Another interesting dish to say the least.
My meal at Foley’s Fitzrovia was certainly an unexpected one. Once I heard the name, I had one set of expectations. Then when I saw the restaurant space and décor, those expectations evolved. Ultimately once we arrived at the menu, it was clear that all my expectations along the way could not have been more off base. Foley’s served some of the best food I’ve had in London all year.
Everything was cooked perfectly however the real magic happened in the unique blending of flavours, transforming dishes I thought I knew well into brand new ones full of excitement and delight.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.