Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, London, E2 7DD
- Style of food: Modern British
- Wine to try: Bénédicte & Stéphane Tissot, DD, Jura, France, 2018, £66
- Kitchen open: 5pm-11pm, Tuesday to Wednesday; 12pm-11pm Thursday; 12pm-12am, Friday; 5pm-12am Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday
Sustainability has become a watchword in the wine industry, as producers seek to ensure the health of their vineyards – and the planet – for future generations. The same trend has emerged in the global restaurant scene, with celebrated sustainable eateries such as Narisawa in Tokyo, Azurmendi in Spain’s Basque region, Mil in Peru’s Sacred Valley and Relae in Copenhagen, leading the charge.
London already boasts its fair share of sustainability champions, including Cub and Native, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Sir Terence Conran would join the fray with Wilder. The designer and serial restaurateur (this is his 52nd restaurant) has teamed up with chef Richard McLellan, previously of Typing Room, who won acclaim with his wild-food supper clubs.
Set in the basement of Conran’s Boundary Hotel, the space is low-lit and starkly decorated with exposed brick, plain rendered walls and ashwood tables. Two striking wild sculptures hang from the ceiling, drawing your eye up to the church-like double-height space.
It’s a darkly dramatic setting for some startlingly good food, which sees seasonal and foraged ingredients put to surprisingly sophisticated use. The humble stinging nettle becomes delicious nettle tempura; turnip is sweetly caramelised and served with a golden yolked egg, chanterelles and chestnuts for an umami-laden treat.
Characterised by intensity of flavour, the accomplished and innovative menu is backed by a sustainably focused wine list from charming consultant sommelier Lucy Ward, previously at Noble Rot and Dinner by Heston.
Interesting organic, biodynamic, natural and low-intervention bottles feature on her French-leaning list of exclusively Old World wines. Burgundy’s Frédéric Cossard and Cécile Tremblay, Rhône producer Vincent Paris and Jura’s Stéphane Tissot are included in the engaging line-up, which also takes in star names such as Barbaresco producer Bruno Giacosa and Spain’s Telmo Rodríguez.
A mineral and savoury Blanc de Blanc NV Champagne by grower Pierre Péters shone with creamy and intensely smoky Pyefleet oysters, topped with smoked apple vinegar and coal cream. While the vibrant and characterful red Joiseph Piroska 2018 from Austria’s Burgenland – a blend of Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch – made a fresh foil to the creaminess of a meticulously presented dish of raw beef, artfully topped with foraged leaves.
Ingredients are all caught, hunted, farmed or found in the UK – an ethos that extends to using British rapeseed oil instead of olive oil and homemade vinegars instead of citrus, for example. True: ingredients such as mugwort, pease pudding and beremeal might have you scratching your head and hoping for a history or botany lesson. But the creativity behind these dishes shines through – and most importantly, they really do taste delicious.
That beremeal – an ancient type of barley grown on the Orkney Islands since Viking times – appears not only in the bread but as an indulgent malty ice cream: a satisfyingly sweet treat to round off the meal. Paired with La Stoppa’s biodynamic Vigna del Volta 2007, a quirky passito-style sweet Malvasia from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna that’s packed with caramel and dried apricot notes, it’s proof that you should be taking a walk on the wilder side…