I'm a huge fan of 64 Degrees - both the Brighton one, which I discovered early last year, and now the Pimlico branch which opened late last year on the back of the Brighton restaurant's success. I suggested it as a venue for a dinner with Angie, Emily and Zoe a couple of weeks ago, and despite my love for the place, it's always a bit nerve wracking inviting others along who've never been there before, though I needn't have worried as everyone loved it.
It was my 3rd visit to 64 Degrees London and we did what I've done on previous visits and order 1 of everything from the menu to share. This may sound extravagant, but the menu is based on small, sharing plates and consists of 4 vegetable, 4 meat and 4 fish dishes, so it wasn't too over the top between 4 of us. They did bring out a couple of extra dishes for us though, including the first thing we ate which was deep fried scallop roes served with a herb puree. They were really delicious with just the right amount of batter on them and enough of a zing from the herby sauce.
Next up was oysters, just 2 as Zoe and Angie didn't fancy them. They were great served with fresh cucumber that took the edge off the pickle from the oysters themselves.
Haddock gyoza with pear and fennel followed - not my favourite dish of the night - I liked the pear and fennel, I just couldn't taste much of the haddock, though that's probably because we were sharing.
Romensco, pineapple, bergamont and granola next - I didn't think I'd like this but I really did. The bitterness of the charred romaneso went nicely with the sweet, charred pineapple and crunchy granola.
Scallops with butternut squash, almond and roe was absolutely delicious. The sweet squash and scallops were cooked to perfection.
Leek, shallot and garlic ganache, beautifully presented and equally as tasty.
Beef tartare, cured yolk and snap - we were told that the snap was made from all the extras you add to tartare (capers, anchovies, Worcester sauce etc) but to be honest I couldn't really taste much in it. The beef however was very good and I liked the cured, grated yolk.
Octopus, daikon, garlic and saffron really showed off the quality of ingredients and cooking, with wonderfully soft tentacles of octopus and crunchy puffed wild rice garnish.
Pork belly, apple, black pudding and lonzu played with texture - the crunchy black pudding against the soft, slow cooked pork belly. The slices of cured pork were really tasty.
My least favourite dish of the night was espresso pearl barley, buttermilk and red wine marinated cauliflower. I found the coffee taste a little strong, but still ate some of it!
The next 2 dishes are 2 of my favourites from previous visits. The first of them is the knodel, charred cos and smoked butter. You have to try this - it's so good. The potato knodel are soft inside with a slightly crunchy outside, and the lettuce tastes wonderful with the smoked butter.
The second is the chicken wings, Brighton blue and kimchi. I've had this before and been underwhelmed by the lack of blue cheese in the dip, but this time was spot on. It's one of the best value dishes on the menu as well, as you get 8 chicken wings for £6.50.
The extra dish we were brought was Alexander bud (a herb foraged from Sussex), bacon and little balls of deep fried porky goodness. It was a great dish and one that I hope makes it on to the proper menu.
I can't go to 64 Degrees without having their rum gummy bears. Though less strong than previous visits they were still delicious, especially as they're sprinkled with the same sour sugar that you get on fizzy Haribo!!
I really can't recommend 64 Degrees enough. If you eat the whole menu as we did then it's not cheap, though it's not extortionate either. I think food came to about £45 a head, and then we drank a fair bit too! It's a real experience of a meal, just make sure you book ahead as both their London and Brighton restaurants have been rammed full every time I've been.