Suzanne Taylor has an offaly nice time finding out who poached Joe's chef
Have you ever wandered up Wandsworth Bridge Road in search of sustenance, spotted an eatery with a bubble gum pink facade and thought "that’s the place for me?" Thought not. Which was why survival for Mission was impossible.
Luckily for us Fulhamites, Boma has filled the gap, with a much more inviting decor. Of course, looks aren’t everything, and you can’t judge a cook by his cover, or even by his covers (although the place was positively buzzing on a dreary Wednesday evening in January.)
The cosy, dimly lit interior was the perfect antidote to the cold winter chill outside. A large blackboard lists a number of very reasonably priced (and superbly made) cocktails, including some great classics like the Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour. The tables around the bar area soon filled up; although there is a further room at the back which I suspect Boma will be needing on a regular basis.
Rumour has it that the chef was poached from Joe’s Brasserie just down the road. Others say that he was lightly grilled on a bed of wilted spinach.
Whatever the rumours, the fact is that the very competent chef from Joe’s is now at Boma which is good news for all (except perhaps for Joe’s itself!)
My dining companion, Charlotte, is an offal girl (but I do like her!) Predictably, she selected chicken livers with shallots, roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and fig vinaigrette as her starter (£6). This dish won the beauty contest of the evening hands down. The richness of the warm chicken livers was perfectly contrasted by the vibrant tomatoes. It was intensely flavoured and utterly delicious.
My foie gras with home-made onion marmalade and brioche was just as it said on the tin. The onion marmalade was perfect ... sweet enough, but not cloyingly sweet. During a recent moment of Christmas extravagance, I bought a tin of foie gras from a store (probably twice the amount I had on my plate) and it set me back £17. You don’t need to be Carol Vorderman to realise that, at £7.50, this dish is incredible value.
As the evening wore on, we noticed that there were a large number of attractive women in Boma, and it wasn’t difficult to see why. The waiters/bartenders were handsome young chaps who managed to be charming and attentive whilst fitting in a bit of flirtatious banter with the clientele. Multi-tasking men? Whatever next?
For a main course Charlotte chose the Ricotta and rocket ravioli with a cherry tomato, chilli, garlic and basil sauce. The flavour was subtle without being bland and the sauce was fresh and tasty, although the chillies were incredibly shy, refusing to even tiptoe onto the lowest edge of the Scoville scale. For anyone unacquainted with the technical side of chillies, this is the scale measuring their piquancy. However, this did not stop Charlotte almost scraping the pattern from her plate.
My Thai green curry was also seriously lacking in bite. A true green curry is a soupy concoction with a fiery kick. But this version was so anglicised that it should have been wearing a bowler hat. Instead of the usual quite runny consistency, it was thick and creamy and not remotely spicy. It was also missing the traditional bamboo shoots that give a crunch to the soft texture of the chicken and rice.
However, having been a regular at Joe’s Brasserie, I know that this is one of the chef’s more popular dishes, so perhaps this is just a matter of personal taste.
Desserts were rather uninspiring. Sorbets are not made in-house, so £5 for three scoops out of a tub seemed rather expensive. Instead we opted to share the crème brulee on a bed of caramelised pineapple and sultanas (£6) which the chef makes from scratch, caramelising the fruit with his bare hands. The success of this pudding was evidenced by the sudden silence at our table and a serious battle of the spoons as we attempted to extract the last tiny morsels from the dish.
Boma is just what this area of Fulham needed. We have so many wonderful international restaurants, but now Joe’s Brasserie now has some real competition in the comfort food department. I predict this will become a very popular local, and I can only imagine the battles for the outdoor tables if summer decides to make an appearance this year. Boma's phone number is 0207 736 5114.
January 28, 2011