Eelbrook sits on the south-eastern corner of Eel Brook common, Fulham, on the Kings Road opposite the Wandsworth Bridge Road, a scant 10 minute walk from Fulham Broadway Tube. It is a home for Brett Barnes, after his stints at Hix in Soho, and Arbutus after moving to London from North Yorkshire. Eelbrook’s dining room isn’t huge, with room for about 26 covers at tables and a further 6 sitting at the bar, but there are further tables outside. The outside area looks ideal for summer brunch (served at weekends) or lunch. The room has full height windows on two sides, facing the road and the common, so is very light, but the hard surfaces and lack of soft furnishings does make it quite loud.
Clientele is mixed, Eelbrook skilfully pulls off the neighborhood restaurant trick of being being perfect for all of dates, special dinners, dinner with friends, or groups or parties. H had visited to review back in October, and raved about it as soon as she got home afterwards, and a return visit was well overdue. My birthday last week provided the perfect excuse to return.
The menu has a choice of eight small plates (of between £2 and £7), six starters (between £7.50 and £9) and seven main courses (£14 up to £48 for a 600g sirloin on the bone for sharing). There is a choice of three different side dishes to accompany the main. Three cheeses and four puddings finish the menu. The wine list included plenty of choices by the glass and cocktails (while the menu is on the restaurant’s website, at the moment the wine list isn’t). The theme is loosely modern British focusing on quality ingredients with great flavours that are skillfully cooked and combined.
We started with pork rillettes, which I found a little disappointing. They were served warm, with two generous slices of sourdough and some cornichons. We’d not had warm rilletes before and felt they did not quite work hovering somewhere between being pulled pork and rillettes. However, this was the one low point of an otherwise excellent meal. H’s starter of seasonal deep fried courgette flowers had a light, crispy tempura batter and were stuffed with crab and avoided any hint of greasiness.
With our mains H’s cod with green harissa, garlic yoghurt and chickpea won rave reviews, a generously sized piece of fish, perfectly cooked with tender flesh and a crispy skin. I was equally happy with my maple cured pork rib eye with fresh borlotti beans, peppers, and romesco and little gem lettuce. Both dishes would have actually worked without the fish or pork – a homage to just how good beans and pulses can be when skillfully cooked.
Although nearly full we couldn’t resist puddings, and went with a caramel pannacotta, with a perfect wobble and silky smoothness, and rich dense dark chocolate delice served in a moat of milky salt caramel sauce and toasted hazelnuts.
Eelbrook is a valuable addition to the local scene; somewhere for lunch, or a quick bite and a glass of wine, but also a restaurant for an enjoyable and convivial meal with family or friends. It’s a great shame that it’s not quite within walking distance for us, but happily it is just a short bus ride.
Three course dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine for about £120.
Eelbrook, Eel Brook Common, New King’s Road, Fulham, London SW6 4SE.
020 3417 0287
Disclosure: H was a guest of the restaurant last year. We paid for our meal last week.