Introducing - Gridiron
RECIPES

Words: Steve Ryan   Photography by Steve Ryan

Introducing - Gridiron

Burnt leek with hazelnuts

 

This feature usually supports chefs opening their own restaurant but this time it’s not lost on us that we are featuring a hotel group’s restaurant on Park Lane, Mayfair. It is most likely that Como Hotels do not need our press. With hotels in nine countries, they are doing pretty OK for themselves. This feature, however, is not designed to support the owners but to celebrate and encourage the dream team that is assembled to run it.

 

 

I went for dinner at Gridiron by Como the week following their opening and was surprised by just how many familiar faces were working there. On arrival, we were looked after by Jenny Willing, who we know from Dandelyan and The Curtain, Liam Davy (ex-Bad Sports) was on the floor, and offering me my first, second and third cocktail of the evening was Alex Williams, who has kept me hydrated on many evenings at Black Rock. Behind the Pass was Colin McSherry, who is by far the happiest Head Chef I’ve ever known – his love for cooking is present on every plate he serves, and this evening was no exception. The name dropping doesn’t stop there: in the ether of Gridiron by Como is meat-sensei Richard H Turner, who is Executive Chef; the cocktail menu is by Max and Noel Venning; and Fiona Beckett leads the wine list. If there were a fantasy football-style game for restaurants, this lot would be very close to my line-up.

 

 

Park Lane may not be my favourite location in London. Most memories include marching down it for mass protests against Trump and Brexit, or trying to find a way home after a crowded concert in Hyde Park. It’s nice to have a new reason to go there and, for a change, feel welcome and at home in Mayfair.

 

One of the standout dishes that evening was the burnt leek. Colin has kindly shared his recipe with us. For those of you who don’t have a massive open fire kiln in your home, you can use a gas hob. In my case, with an induction hob, I’ll be buying myself a small blowtorch.

 

 

Ingredients

50g hazelnuts
25g of vegetarian parmesan or pecorino
50g of olive pomace oil or extra virgin olive oil
10g of sherry vinegar
Pinch of salt
50g butter
1 large leek
1 lemon
Maldon sea salt
 
Prep the alliard:
1. Toast the hazelnuts at 180ºC for four minutes, then leave to one side to cool.
2. Finely grate the vegetarian parmesan or pecorino, and set to one side to use later.
3. Weigh out 50g of olive pomace oil or extra virgin olive oil, as well as 10g of sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt, and put to one side.
 
Prep the brown butter:
4. Take 50g of butter and cook at a gentle heat until the butter splits and the solids of the butter cook in their own fat.
 
Method:
1. At the restaurant we cook the leek on the direct embers of wooden charcoal. If you wish to create this at home, you can place the leek on the gas burner to achieve the charred effect (or use a blow torch if you have no gas burner). Wash first and cook for 5-6 minutes.
2. Finish in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 180ºC/Gas 4.
3. Meanwhile, take 40g of the toasted hazelnuts and crush on the chopping board, or with a pestle and mortar.
4. Add the olive oil, sherry vinegar, cheese and salt. Mix well and set to one side.
5. Take your charred leek and, with a sharp knife, split it down the first two layers, keeping the heart intact. Slice the heart in 1cm pieces.
6. Brush or drizzle with the brown butter, and add a squeeze of lemon on top.
7. Season lightly with the Maldon salt (you can use smoked Maldon for a smokier effect).
8. Spoon the alliard mix across the leek and finish by sprinkling the dried toasted hazelnuts on top.

 

Gridiron