Tag Archives: Rice Pudding

Season Kitchen

8 Feb

Just over a year ago I was walking back home from Finsbury Park station when I got the sudden craving for some chicken from Nando’s. I love Nando’s. Sometimes I literally cannot get enough of it. So with a quarter chicken (medium heat) and peri chips in mind, I changed my normal route home and walked along Stroud Green Road towards the glowing light of Nando’s welcoming sign. I peered into shop windows in order to check out my reflection, as I am sure at least 75% of you lot do, when I noticed a new shop interior. No longer a place selling shampoo, hair extensions and nail varnish, this shop was now a restaurant and a rather hip and cool one at that. So cool I couldn’t quite make out the name of the restaurant as it was painted in gloss black over a matt black background and it was also night-time, thus very dark. ‘Se-a-son’ I read out slowly as my eyes adjusted to the lack of light. That suggested seasonal produce to me and with a quick glance at the menu my suspicions were confirmed. I got out my phone and called my good friend Frances who handily only lived around the corner: ‘So like, there’s this new restaurant on Stroud Green Road and it like looks nice and cool and stuff’ and moments later I had stepped inside to nab us a table, my original trip to Nando’s all but forgotten.

We had three courses of hearty and very good food and I felt proud to inform anyone I could that a restaurant of such high-caliber could be found just round the corner from me. And then when Giles Coren said it was brilliant I was proud to point everyone to that review. So I am surprised that it has not been picked up by other critics as the new hot thing, and I am equally surprised at myself that it took a whole year for me to return. It was Frances who suggested another visit and it didn’t take much prodding for me to agree.

Season does feel a bit like a shop inside. It is a square room with the kitchen at the back, much like the layout of many of the shops along the road with the goods out front and the till at the end. Our table was the very same I sat at on our first visit which I thought must be a good omen. Another good omen was the gorgeous soda bread immediately placed on our table once we had sat down. It is so treacley and oaty I’d be happy just eating that with butter for dinner. But that is not why I was there and thankfully the menu was very reassuring. We ordered a bottle of wine, and just like the last visit I found myself incapable of politely asking for ‘the house red’, instead barking out ‘YOU KNOW, THE CHEAPEST RED ONE’ which was both uncouth and not very ladylike, but who am I to dismiss a rather quick setting tradition.

I went for Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley, Radish and Toast to start.  I love bone marrow so it was a fairly easy decision, however the last time I ate it when it had not been added to a sauce to make it AWESOME was at Hawksmoor and it was pretty grim – a huge bone filled with marrow that was just a bit too jellyish (everything else is brilliant at Hawksmoor though). So when I ordered the bone marrow at Season I did have worries that maybe St John was the only place that could cook it successfully. The plate arrived and I was pleased to see that the bone was more dainty than huge, which was a very good start. However, one must never judge a book by its cover, beauty is only skin deep, and the proof is in the tasting. With all this in mind I boldly scooped some of the marrow out, briefly admiring the faint wobble as it was transferred from boney cave to toast, and then the ease of spread, melting ever so slightly with the residual warmth from the charred bread. I artfully added a leaf of parsley, a round of radish and a sprinkling of salt as a final embellishment before the inevitable journey towards my mouth. The journey was smooth yet swift as I was hungry, but most importantly the landing was superb. I ate it all very quickly, the last few bites less considered than my first but enjoyed just as much. I love the animal butteriness and slight greasiness of marrow and I will until the day I die. Thankfully my Hawksmoor experience was just a freak accident, not to be a regular occurence.

Frances had Rabbit and Marmalade on toast. I did try a bit but I was too busy enjoying the marrow to remember what it was like. But for what it is worth, Frances confirms it was very nice.

We both went for the same main: Pot Roast Guinea Fowl with Black Pudding and Potato Cake.  As I was very hungry I was pleased to see a rather large plate piled high with meat and carbs. Alas, it appears my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and though I managed to finish it (Booyah!) the last third was most definitely what one may call a struggle. The meat was moist and succulent and was bathed in the gamey liquid it was cooked in. However, my highlight of this dish was the circle of black pudding which was rich and had a good smattering of barley throughout which gave it a very pleasant chew. There was a lot of potato, which probably added weight to my struggle, but one can hardly complain as I do like potato and the many guises it comes in.

As you may have gathered, I was full to the brim. I would also like to add that my wallet was a little bare. But there is something about Frances’ presence that makes me go for gold. I like this about her because it generally means that by throwing caution to the wind I tend to have a better time. It also lends an air of decadence to the proceedings, an air I very much like to breathe. This urge that she creates usually manifests itself in us spending £20 on snacks and dodgy sweets with the ingredients cannily printed in a foreign language on the back when we just popped out for a sharing bag of Doritos, but not at Season. At Season, we ordered desserts.

Rice Pudding with Berry Jam for me. For those of you who regularly read my blog, I understand that I may sound like a broken record. I think I am going to create a Rice Pudding Scale as a quick and simple way of understanding where each pudding stands in the grand scheme of riz au lait. Though all rice pudding is good and will vary in taste wherever you may happen upon it, I do struggle in describing it in a new and fascinating way each time. This rice pudding tasted of rice pudding and I gobbled it down quick. The berry jam was nicely sharp, cutting through the sweetness of the rice perfectly. Frances had Poached Pear with Brown Bread Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Hazelnuts. It is the dessert I would have ordered if I were a more interesting person.

Nursing my food baby, I gladly emptied my purse for Season’s troubles. I still find it so exciting having the opportunity of being so well fed just around the corner from my house, and though you may have guessed, I am not just talking about Nando’s. I’ll be moving south of the river soon so I am disappointed that Season will no longer be local, but I will follow its inevitable success like an obsessive ex-girlfriend.


Season Kitchen & Dining Room
53 Stroud Green Road
London N4 3EF