For a recent culinary excursion, our chefs ventured just across the Atlantic to London shining star, 64° London. As the name implies everything featured on the menu is cooked around 64 degrees Celsius. This was a huge plus for our chefs as this falls right within the sous vide cooking range. Interestingly enough the majority of cuisine cooked at 64 Degrees is sous vide. Fancy that!
Another fun fact about this culinary establishment and its sister restaurant in Brighton UK is without waiters. Yes that’s correct and just about the same reaction we all had when regaled with the story. 64 Degrees started life with no front-of-house staff, instead employing chefs to engage with diners while they prepared ingredients and cooked, a “social dining” concept pioneered by chef/owner, Michael Bremner.
Named among the top 40 in the UK National Restaurant Awards, 64 Degrees represents not only superbly executed sous vide but precision in fine dining tapas. With an open kitchen to the dining room, guests can delight in unobstructed views of colorful and imaginative presentation by the chefs in-between conversational topics. The décor relies heavily on dark wood, metal tones and angular shapes opting for stools and backless chairs in many areas where overly comfortable and cushioned chairs would put diners to sleep. Brightly lit and fully equipped with friendly staff members, 64 Degrees projects a relaxed and intimate attitude at the center of the busy London street scene.
Mackerel, Waldorf, Ceviche – This particular dish was not sous vide due to the traditionally raw arrangement of ceviche. The mackerel was marinated and served raw with diced apples and lime. In general Mackerel needs to be fresh as can be so not to have an overpowering taste and we found this plate to have a pleasantly, mild taste influenced by the tangy under tones of the marinade seasoning.
Cauliflower, Shallot and Pomegranate – The cauliflower is prepared with olive oil in 3 different styles – roasted, pureed and shaved. Served with oven roasted vegetables and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and crisp shallot bhaji, the chefs of 64° really took a huge step into the unfamiliar. This dish was so very colorful and the different types of cauliflower played with different textures in your mouth with each bite.
Knodel, Cabbage, Smoked Butter – The Knodel (commonly referred to as German gnocchi) were savory bread dumplings toasted with truffle flavoring inside and served on top of cabbage. The hispi cabbage was nicely braised and charred, almost sweet and unlike most cabbage served in the US. Perfect choice for vegetarians!
Monkfish, Chorizo and Chard – The monkfish was superb! A nice flaky white fish served with breaded and fried Gigha chorizo croquets and Swisschard. The sauce really brought out the flavors of all the ingredients and was made spicy by the chorizo sausage.
Beef, Carrot and Potatoes – The beef and carrots were specifically mentioned as being cooked sous vide and then nicely seared afterwards. The steak was flawless, nice and tender with consistent medium rare color through the whole cut. The dish was finished with a rich red wine sauce and toasted bread crumbs adding a nice crunch to contrast the velvety, melt-in-your-mouth steak.
Partridge, Pears and Celeriac (celery root) – Partridge meat cooked by traditional methods is usually very lean and dry. By using sous vide the chefs of 64° managed to create a poultry dish so tender and juicy you would never know it was partridge meat. Afterwards they seared the skin for final flavor enhancement and built a great jus from stock reduction of the bones. The celery root and pears came together in a surprisingly pleasant burst of salty sweet flavoring, which pairs well with the aforementioned protein. Unique and memorable!
All though there wasn’t appetite left for dessert sampling, we wanted to be sure to mention that just a few steps below ground opens up into an intimate lounge – conveniently named 64° Below – with an airy coziness inviting visitors to enjoy a before dinner cocktail and/or after supper digestif.
64 Degrees’ colorful dishes and unfussy décor are inspiring, but the real flavor is in their creative interpretations using local game as well as their incorporation of fresh ingredients with contrasting aromas and flavors. An overall delightful dining experience and a must add for your next visit to the British Isle.