A neighbourhood restaurant set within the well-designed and well-dressed nook of Belgravia’s Eccleston Yards, Wild By Tart has already captivated a flock of local regulars. A former power station and coal store, this glass-ceilinged, light-filled space is home to a restaurant, bar, coffee kiosk and retail store (the latter selling unique homewares, including Wild By Tart’s own collection of serve-ware, hand made in Puglia, Morocco and Spain). Founded by Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison, the talented duo who made their name with their bespoke catering company Tart London, the menu focuses on seasonal ingredients with big flavour.
There is already a hubbub of merry diners when I arrive for an early Friday lunch. The menu is sharing style. Smaller snacks of smoked Catalan almonds, cep and mozzarella arancini and irresistibly bubbly focaccia compliment a refined yet lively ‘Wild Cocktails’ menu, including a Spicy Ginger Daiquiri with cut-spiced rum, ginger, red chilli and lime, and a Sangria Riviera made with rosé, calvados, cranberry and orange. The focaccia is some of the best I have tried, with a jolly, pillowy bounce and a drizzle of heavily aromatic herb oil – a must. It’s worth noting too, that filtered or sparkling water is unlimited following a small charge – a rarity for London restaurants where one can easily rack up a bill on bottled water alone.
This attention to zero-waste and their environmental ethos is echoed throughout the menu with many of the larger dishes placing vegetables centre-stage. Following the seasons, you can expect dishes such as roast pumpkin with Westcombe ricotta and pistachio pesto, whipped feta with baby beetroot and lovage salsa verde, and heritage tomatoes with black olive tapenade and fennel. Fish and meat are sourced using only the highest welfare, sustainable suppliers. I watch as a very happy husband and wife on the next table enjoy bream cooked with a silky ginger and turmeric coconut sauce and make a mental note to follow suit when I return. A particularly excellent plate of cured trout with a zippy ponzu and sesame dressing eases my food envy. And then the flatbread arrives and I feel utterly content. Gorgonzola oozes over sweet rainbow chard and garlicky mascarpone. I begin with well-mannered intentions, using my knife and fork, until I reach the bouncy, slightly nutty, flame-grilled crust which demands to be picked up and embraced as a vessel to mop up any remaining topping. It is cheesy and it is glorious.
I bypass pudding, although I suspect it is excellent (I am still cooing over the flatbread) and have to tear myself away from purchasing a yellow ceramic bowl from the shop. As I leave, the bar begins to fill with elegant young couples, and mothers and daughters enjoying a Friday night aperitivo. Despite having just eaten, I think about how I could happily enjoy another round of focaccia. I text my mother on my way out saying we must return together soon.
To book: www.wildbytart.com/