Mark, Tom, Nick and Paul, four mates with a concept.
New restaurant: John Doe
John Doe is the new restaurant at 46 Golborne Road, most recently the site of La Sophia and back in the late 1990s an Antony Worrall Thompson venue. The latest venture is the collective brainchild of four old friends, or 'four mates with a concept' as they describe themselves, Nick Clarke, Mark Blatchford, Tom Rainey and Paul Fox.
Tom and Paul are already in the food business with gastro pubs in Oxford and Cambridge, both called the Punter. This is a first venture for both Nick, who used to work in the City, and Mark who has extensive international experience as a high-end chef. They'll no doubt be pleased with this favourable review
from the Observer's Jay Rayner.
The restaurant has been given a complete re-fit and Nick says that the four partners were all hands-on during the conversion work. "We did as much as we could ourselves," he says, "this is a huge commitment for the four of us, so we keep a keen eye on budgets." The street-level floor has a large open kitchen, some seating at the front overlooking Golborne Road, tables at the back, lots of white tiles and stylish lighting. Downstairs is also open for business.
The menu includes a fair smattering of less familiar meats such as wood pigeon, pheasant and fallow deer, as well as burgers and Scotch eggs made with venison. Golborne Life sampled seared duck hearts with sherry vinegar and parsley and grilled octopus with chickpeas and aioli, both delicious.
"We're keen to promote wild meats as a sustainable alternative," says Nick, "and we also use charcoal rather than gas to cook with – we even have a charcoal-powered oven."
There's also an eclectic selection of craft beers to go with the food, including Freedom Organic Lager from Abbots of Bromley and Espresso Stout made by Bad Seed in Yorkshire. "Meat and beer have gone together since the time of Henry VIII," says Nick, "and it's something we'd like to revive. We also serve wine, but we'd like to promote the idea that a carefully chosen craft beer can be just as good an accompaniment for food."
"We came to Golborne Road partly because it is still affordable," says Paul, "but now that we're here it's been a real treat to get to know the street and the other businesses along it."
"The mix of cultures is truly amazing," adds Nick, "which makes it a perfect place for us to launch our unique concept. I love the Friday and Saturday market buzz and there's a real sense of community here - we already feel connected to that."
There are others who are excited by the opening of John Doe. Kirsty Allsop tweeted on the first night, "So excited, tonight is opening of John Doe, my new local restaurant on Golborne Road, W11." And in late 2014, the Prime Minister dropped in for dinner.
46 Golborne Road, London W10 5PR
020 8969 3280
Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to midnight