Out & About – Native, Covent Garden

At rhubarb we love food and everything about it so are always seeking out the hottest restaurants, latest trends, exciting new venues and meeting old industry friends and we’d love to share what we’ve got going on.

Our Head of Planning, Gemma Bacon recently visited Native in Covent Garden, a restaurant focused on serving delicious dishes that incorporate the very best of seasonal British game as well as making the most of foraged and wild food.

Native was concocted by foodie couple Ivan and Imogen and opened in the tranquil setting of Neal’s Yard early in 2016 to great success. Ivan’s skills lie in the kitchen whilst Imogen works hard front of house as well as helping to run her family falconry business where ‘Rufus the Hawk’ (the famous hawk that guards the Wimbledon tennis courts) is based. Ivan and Imogen are friends of Gemma’s partner, renowned chef Pip Lacey, who met the pair when she won the Wimbledon themed Great British Menu in 2017 as Rufus also featured on the show.

Native ticked all Gemma’s boxes and although the menu focuses on game, Gemma claims their vegetarian dishes are the best she tasted in 2017! The menu highlight from their visit was the Doddington celeriac roasted in soured butter with labneh, flowering purple sprout hearts, reindeer moss, red mustard leaves, celeriac and miso velouté, sweet walnuts and lovage oil, paired perfectly with a delicious glass of English sparkling wine.

Native looks to provide its guests with an authentic dining experience, encapsulating the country’s best wild foods and rare breeds in a relaxed setting, ensuring all dishes are innovative and full of flavour, creating a food journey through the British seasons.

Initially self-taught, Ivan previously worked at the Michelin-starred Blue Hill Farm at Stone Barns in New York where he fine-tuned his skills and developed his passion for natural, foraged and seasonal produce. Imogen grew up in rural Northhamptonshire and has always loved nature, developing a palate for Britain’s wild food and learning from a young age how to prepare game for cooking. Between them, Ivan and Imogen have received a number of accolades from: The Observer, TimeOut’s “100 best restaurants in London”, and Grace Dents “10 people to watch in the food industry 2017”

Pip often runs into Ivan and Imogen on the culinary scene and a collaboration is on the cards this February. Pip Lacey is the former Head Chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Murano and is collaborating with Native’s Ivan Tisdall-Downes for one night only ahead of the opening of her debut restaurant Hicce… watch this space!

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