Bonnie & Wild is a ‘part-time’ (they insisted that it is not ‘pop-up’!) restaurant named after Bonnie Gull Ltd and Wild Game Co. The former specialises in fresh Scottish seafood and the latter Highlands seasonal game. It is not hard to imagine what the menu of the Bonnie & Wild would be consisted of and I really looked forward to it.
It will open on Saturday evenings from July 2nd but we managed to get a preview meal!
The venue blew me away. It is at M.Manze’s in Chapel Market, Angel. Between 11am to 3pm, this 1905 Grade II Listed shop is a traditional English pie and mash shop. Apparently even David Beckham goes there!
Not much light was turned on the night we went. It kind of created an old English charm. We were led to one of the classic wooden booths in the middle of the hall, with seats that were not very deep- a bit like the pews you would find in old churches. As I am petite, I found it comfy. But I cannot imagine how anyone bigger than my size could squeeze in there! In fact, the seat bounced up and down when the diners behind tried to get in and out- kind of charming!
Our booth was initially lit by a single tea light in a jam jar. The white marble table and the titled walls reflected some light but it was actually very dark. I would prefer that they turned on all the pendant lights.
It was so dark that I could not see my food clearly. All the photos of food were taken with special lighting- mobile phone!
My main course was Barbecued Venison Haunch Steak, cooked in dark chocolate and red wine sauce (photo above). As a keen chocolate fan, I could not wait to smell the venison to see how the sauce was like. It was so dark that I dabbed my nose onto my food by mistake!
The venison was quite raw but as it was a good cut, it was full of flavour. The barbecued taste coming from the outside of the meat was great! The chocolate and red wine sauce was sweet but it was a good match.
I really like the chunky chips (photo below) which we ordered as a side dish. It was crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, seasoned with flaky sea salts. We were amazed that they stayed hot throughout!
The Pan fried Sea Bream (another main course, photo below) had a crispy skin, which was great. However, the scallops were VERY SMALL! The overall portion seemed small. I guess it might be because the dishes they used to serve were small in order to fit the narrow marble table?
It was a cross between chocolate mousse and creme brûlée, at room temperature. I was impressed by the crispy (but not sweet) top which matched very well with the smooth texture of the burnt cream. The large and fragrant strawberry on the side was a good touch. I enjoyed dipping it in very much. The short bread with the burnt cream was too heavy for my liking though.
I could not have dessert without a hot drink. There were only 2 teas on the menu: Jasmine infused with Silver Needles or the floral tea in a ball. I always consider the floral tea ball (which opens up in hot water to form a floral display) a sad gimmick to impress non-Chinese so obviously I decided to go for the first option.
I was a little shocked to see that they served the tea in a small Chinese cup, without any teapot. In a normal Chinese restuarant, I would have easily drunk it 2 mouthfuls! The tea was much weaker than any Jasmine or Silver needles tea I have tried before. I kept wondering what happened to the rest of the tea in the teapot. And most importantly how much would I be charged?
I do not understand why they decided to only serve Chinese tea with a meal that was supposed to celebrate Scottish produce. It seemed to be a recent trend. But if restaurants decide to do so, they should really serve the tea properly. Damn! I should have brough a bottle of whisky.
The loo was lit by a candle so that the hole in the ceiling would become less obvious. It did generate a pop-up and run-down feel which was cute.
The meal was served quickly and we finished in just over an hour. That was quite fast for a 3- course meal! We were at no point rushed but it just did not feel like a nice place to stay and chat. I could not explain why.
Perhaps it was too dark? Perhaps I ran out of tea?
In all, I enjoyed my meal at the Bonnie & Wild. I was impressed by the transformation of the space. I suspected that the low lighting was to create an old charm
and to hide the lack of repair in some areas but I did wonder whether it was a little over-done. The food was well-prepared though the portion was on the smaller side.
We had a preview test menu, which was £20 for 3 courses. Side dishes were £3.50 each. The restaurant has a BYOB policy with a £5 corkage charge.
The full menu looks great! I might have to come back in July to give it a try. It says each booth can sit 6, though for comfort I think 4 is plenty. I can imagine the place could be quite noisy at its full capacity as the tiled wall relected noise effectively. On the night we went, 2 tables at the back laughed very loudly quite a lot and it was distracting.
Hmm, actually I would also like to go back to try the pie and mash!The Bonnie & Wild
Dinner with sparkling water- £49, incl. service charge.
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