Ex-Kitty Fisher’s head chef Tomos Parry will open his first solo restaurant above Smoking Goat in Shoreditch, Redchurch Street, on Saturday 17 March. Brat, named after the old English colloquialism for turbot, is being billed as a fusion of Parry’s Welsh heritage and his admiration for the Basque region of northern Spain. In sum — seasonal British produce (and a number of comparatively uncommon Welsh ingredients) cooked over an open wood-fired grill.
Parry says the restaurant’s principal inspiration was the Basque country’s costal town of Getaria — a place well known for its bold, wood-fired grill cooking. He said “the relaxed, intuitive and direct approach to cooking” was in line with his own ethos, where, during his time at Climpson’s Arch in Hackney and Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair, “he developed an understanding of the relationship between good food and fire.”
“Brat will focus on a particularly gentle and simple style of fire cooking recognisable from Getaria, which generally means buy well and don’t ruin it. Since leaving Kitty’s, I’ve been working closely with farmers and fisherman to create a menu which is structured around native ingredients at the peak of their season,” he said.
To start, “quick dishes” will include:
- Carmarthen ham
- Fresh cheese
- Grilled baby peas
- Wood fire-grilled breads
Followed with more “robustly flavoured” bigger dishes, such as:
- Cedar wood sea trout with Jersey cream and river herbs
- Slow grilled little red mullet
- Turbot, lightly seasoned and slowly grilled
- Wild mussel and cockle soup
- Offal hot pot with laverbread (laver is Welsh seaweed) and potatoes, loosely based on the Welsh national dish, cawl
The kitchen will work closely with British farms, such as Maerdy farm in South Wales, to source and select especially for the restaurant. Like his neighbour, Ben Chapman at Smoking Goat downstairs, provenance and supply is a crucial matter. For example, one dish will use aged badger face welsh mountain ewes, a breed which is fattened on their expansive grass hills. The sheep’s extra fat covering is said to intensify the flavour of the meat.
As Eater reported last year, Parry has confirmed he will work with Noble Rot’s Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling who last year set up the wine import company, Keeling Andrew & Co. The list will be “approachable” with “interesting wines from old cellars” alongside a list of sherry’s the company is beginning to introduce to the UK.
The first-floor restaurant will be accessed via Redchurch Street (whereas Smoking Goat is entered on Shoreditch High Street). The original 1930s stairwell will lead guests to a dining room which has retained some of the (former strip club’s) original features, including art deco wood panelling and large steel frame windows. A counter bar, with high stools, will wrap around the open kitchen and its wood ovens in the centre of the room.
Parry says he wanted to create a restaurant that he would visit: “For me, the simple pleasure of eating well is what Brat is all about. It’s a place I would want to eat — whether that be one dish with a glass of wine at lunch or settling in at the counter for a few hours.”