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    Wednesday, 15 May 2019


    Hands up who else loves watching Great British Menu? It's one of my absolute favourite programmes to put on while I'm eating my dinner and I'm constantly making notes on the chefs, determined to try out their restaurants. A couple of weeks ago I got an invitation to try out last year's 'Champion of Champions' James Cochran new outpost and I can't tell you how excited I was! It's called 12:51 and you can find them over in Islington - here, let me show you what the food is like..
    The menu is designed for sharing with smaller portions encouraging you to order several dishes between you - or if you'd prefer, you can go with the tasting menu option instead. The dishes are 'modern British' with influences all across the global (including James' Scottish and Caribbean heritage) and focus on using quality, local ingredients.
    We kicked things off with a round of small plates to share between us and absolutely LOVED the Jerusalem artichoke (£12) topped with a creamy smoked egg mayonnaise, chive and garlic - wish I'll be honest I wasn't expecting.
    One of my favourites dishes was the buttermilk jerk chicken (£5), which were super crunchy on the outside but juicy and succulent within. These are topped with corn nuts for a little extra crunch and a delicious scotch bonnet jam, perfect for slathering on top.
    The BBQ leek (£14) was another hit for us, with its gorgeous smokey chargrilled flavour, however the price feels a little steep for a veggie dish (which is probably down to the use of truffle). It's topped with cured egg yolk, shiitake mushroom, hazelnuts and melted feta to balance out all the smokey, salty and slightly sweet flavours.
    Next comes the beautifully presented Cornish cured mackerel (£13) served alongside pickled cucumber and topped with a punchy N'duja and pork crackling for an added crunch.
    From the larger plates menu, we ordered the roast haunch of new season lamb (£22) which comes perfectly pink in thick slices and served with creamy sheep’s curd, roscoff onion, mint gremolata and topped with almonds.
    The slow braised short rib of Dexter beef (£24) was my star of the night however. The presentation was just incredible, with a huge chunk of beef which almost melted as you cut into - paired with wild garlic, miso, oyster, salsify, oyster leaf and bone marrow. Simply delicious.
    We had at an absolute feast at James' restaurant and I was so impressed with every dish that we were served on the night. Yes, the food is on the pricey side, but the standard of cooking and quality of ingredients certainly makes it worth it - especially as a treat or for a special occasion. While chatting to our waiter, he let slip that the BEST thing James cooks is a roast dinner, and having seen the photos on Instagram, I am most definitely heading back soon to give that a try! If you fancy trying 12:51, it's advisable to book as the restaurant is small and in demand!

    Restaurant 12:51
    107 Upper Street, Islington
    N1 1QN

    * We were guests of 12:51
    Our food was complimentary but all opinions are honest

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