The O2 is big. I have been to a few concerts here and there is no shortage of bars and restaurants in the building for pre-concert dining. Most of the chains have well and truly set up home here from Nandos to Cafe Rouge, from Byron to Zizzi. Step outside the venue and you stumble upon something independent, Craft London.
When you first walk into the space, it seems out of place among the other run of the mill spots. Its sexy and glam interior makes it feels more like it should be in Mayfair, the city or Soho. It is stylish. The fact that it is a collaboration with Tom Dixon tells you everything you need to know as he is an OBE self-taught British designer, known for his distinctive desire to design for “longevity and to be anti-fashion”.
If you are not phased by design or influenced by interiors, then there is the food to keep you interested. We visited the restaurant for dinner and opted for the tasting menu. There are two prices here, £35 (4 courses) or £55 (7 courses). We opted for the shorter of the two and settled down to a medley of tongue tantalisers. I am not kidding when I say we were excited. I am not one for flash restaurants, as it can be quite intimidating, but you have high expectations. Here, we felt relaxed, and whilst the service was quite formal, we were not made to feel out of place.
They kindly brought some “amuse bouche”, which is essentially some canapes to tide us over until the first course. Our first course was stichelton (a raw milk British blue cheese) and montgomery custard, kale, leek and morels (my FAVE mushroom). This was gorg! Second course was octopus, baby fennel (normally not keen), with horseradish. The octopus was not too chewy and the flavours perfectly complimented them. Third up was Pork Belly (which appeared to be glazed with soy or suchlike), land cress, kale and beetroot. OMG, the pork was so delicately cooked, but I love the way skin was crisp and browned off. The fat melted in your mouth. Last, was the zesty lemon pudding.
The bar in this place is very inviting and I would suspect that late evening, there is a good vibe here with cocktail drinkers. As we were so early (had to be in the venue by 7pm), we were one of the first to arrive. I will say, I was chuffed to see Langley’s No 8 Gin behind the bar. Me and my bestie dining pal, Sam (yes there are two of us), have a special place in our heart for this superior gin, so of course we had to have a gin and tonic with din dins.
1 Green Place
T. 020 8465 5910