Twist Kitchen and Tapas in Marylebone is in its fifth year of trading but why have I only just found it. It is exactly the way we like to eat today in London. All the boxes ticked:
Carefully sourced organic and sustainable ingredients
- Seasonal menu
- sharing plates
- precise cooking
- grass fed beef
- Josper grill
- friendly and hospitable
Chef Eduardo hails from the Amalfi Coast and has been presiding over his own kitchen at Twist for the last five years. He started Twist to create balance in his life. Previously, he was working 7 days a week and very long hours. His said wife Giulia would only marry him if he changed his lifestyle, so Twist happened. He runs the kitchen en and his wife Giulia heads up the front of house. Now they close on Sundays, run their own show and even have time to take holidays, 2 weeks in August and 2 weeks over Christmas.
Eduardo is serving food that reflects his years of experience from cheffing around the world. We bonded over a hunk of beef, 30 day aged grass-fed side of beef, sourced from sustainable award winning family run Walter Rose & Son (1847). The glass counter at the pass holds several more hunks of beef that the casual diner would not even blink at. But to a grass-fed beef geek, this is catnip. I asked why he doesn’t name the farmers or even mention provenance on his menu and he said “most customers don’t care where the food comes from.”
On the evening we were there, Twist was quite full and buzzy, with a mix of families and couples. The casual dining room is quite narrow and with a few choice counter seats at the window.
Twist says they serve tapas, but not as you know it. You might see a couple of regular tapas dishes like Iberico ham on here but I guess in this case it is shorthand for European sharing plates. The choices are plentiful and Giulia advised us to choose two to share. As we had already eyed up the beef for the main course, we adjusted our order for starters.
We chose their house speciality, fried courgette flowers filled with ricotta, mint, Amalfi lemon & honey and tuna tartare.
Tempting us on the specials board was a polenta with hake montacato and patra negra lard, and a plate of secreto iberico a la plancha, asparagus and apple celeriac.
Secreto from acorn-fed Iberico pigs is a special cut of pork that is called the butcher’s secret. Cut from between the shoulder blades with a nice marble of fat, when cooked on a hot grill like their Josper oven, it is magic. But we resisted and gave it a miss. When he says that he sources it from some very small farmers (instead of buying from a very big name Spanish Iberico company) that he met while on a research holiday, I became an even bigger fan.
Eduardo surprised us with a couple of extra dishes, the hake mantecato, a smooth creamy mash over a crispy polenta base topped with a meltingly soft patra negra lard. Patra negra lard, repeated in case you missed that tiny detail.
Then came a plate of charcuterie from Sicily. Instead of serving commercial ham, he gets his charcuterie from Sicily. Some artisan charcuterie makers there have been making ham and salami from Iberico pork like in Spain. Served with some onions pickled in apple vinegar. Another little detail that surprised.
Tuna tartare is ubiquitous on London menus but here it’s quite impressive. Yellowfin tuna, roughly chopped, seasoned with togarashi, yuzu and yoghurt.
The star was the courgette flowers, ever so lightly battered and fried, filled with ricotta and drizzled with Amalfi honey. Why don’t more restaurants offer this dish and it looks stunning too.
A waft of burning rosemary hits us just as the 1 kg of grilled beef gets delivered to our table by Eduardo. Alongside this is a dish of fried potatoes and charred hispi cabbage. The beef is served with a choice of sauces (which it doesn’t need) but I did like the Bourbon peppercorn sauce. The meat was tender and full beefy flavour but not overly gamey. Quite special, definitely the reason why you should dine here.
The wine list at Twist is not too long,, with quite a few by the glass as they want guests to be able to taste many different wines like many different tapas. Included is a selection of organic and natural wines.
On the day we were there, they had run out of Blonde Galician beef. It seems this aged dairy cow is really popular so if that’s what you are after, call and check that it has not sold out.
Dessert as ever is never overlooked. We shared a Flan Creme Caramel with Almond Cashew ice cream. A firmer than average creme caramel with a hint of citrus from the Grand Marnier instead of just orange zest. Served with their homemade cashew ice cream, I could have had more.
Dining at Twist Kitchen has been a really memorable experience. Dishes that sounded so benign on the printed menu came to life in full technicolour and more. Every sense heightened, taste buds tantalised and fully sated. It is easy to see why this place is a neighbourhood favourite.
Go for the fabulous quality ingredients, go for the warm hospitality and the simple but precise cooking. Just go.
42 Crawford Street
Tel: 020 7723 3377
EatCookExplore was a guest of Twist Kitchen