Serious seafood expertise (and a delicious recipe)
Acclaimed chef Mark Sargeant runs a much-feted restaurant – Rocksalt – right on the harbour front at Folkestone, but you don’t have to travel to the Kent coast to enjoy some of his brilliant seafood dishes. At his London eaterie Plum + Split Milk (located right in the centre of buzzy King’s Cross, on the first floor of The Great Northern Hotel), whose kitchen is headed up by head chef Mike Denman, the menu also features some firm (fishy) favourites.
The Creamed smoked haddock is a long-term staple on the seasonal menu for very good reason. Served in a mini casserole dish, it’s an indulgent mix of steamed haddock and creamy mashed potato (infused with the milk used to steam the fish, to add to the intense flavour) with a perfect soft poached egg in the middle. Topped with hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of sea purslane leaves (and finished under the grill), this is the ultimate comfort dish. For a more exotic seafood choice, we recommend the fresh Thai flavours of the steamed lobster and salmon in a llght lemongrass and coconut broth. (But if you’re not in the mood for fish, then the lamb cutlets with spiced lamb croquette are delicious – tender pink lamb with rich jus on the side, served with deliciously smoky aubergine puree.)
The restaurant itself has a sophisticated feel (and a friendly atmosphere) – with great views over the rooftops of both King’s Cross and St Pancras. Plus a collection of 150 hand-blown glass ceiling lights cast a lovely flattering yellow light. If you have time to linger, we seriously recommend ordering a pre-dinner Bellini and bagging a corner seat in the small but perfectly formed bar, whose dark blue walls lined with paintings only highlight the intimate feel….
Plum + Split Milk have kindly shared one of their favourite recipes…
Recipe for Creamed smoked haddock:
1 smoked haddock fillet, approx 300g skin and bones removed
1 bay leaf
2 large white potatoes, cooked and mashed
Knob of butter
4 soft poached eggs
1 tbsp chopped dill
4 tbsp hollandaise sauce (a good shop-bought one is fine)
Blanched sea purslane to garnish (optional)
1 Put the smoked haddock, peppercorns and bay leaf in an ovenproof dish and cover with milk. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 12 minutes at 180 degrees. Remove from the oven and drain the milk into a container.
2 Put the potato into a saucepan over a medium heat, adding a knob of butter and enough of the smoked haddock milk to make a creamy mash. Gently flake in the smoked haddock, discarding the bayleaf and peppercorns.
3 Spoon the creamed haddock and potato into four individual ovenproof dishes, until half full. Add a warm poached egg to each, then cover with more of the creamed haddock mix. Leave half a centimetre at the top. Fill this gap with hollandaise sauce (homemade or shop-bought). We like to finish ours by passing a blow torch over the hollandaise and topping with blanched sea purslane.