The Tent At The End Of The Universe Little Portland Street restaurant foyer

Restaurant Review: The Tent At The End Of The Universe, London

The Tent At The End Of The Universe Little Portland Street restaurant foyer

Zoë Perrett takes a trip to John Javier’s tent-aurant, where you don’t even need psychedelics to feel transported to another reality

“Well, it smells like we’re in the right place,” observes my companion, and indeed it does: we can hardly see shit in The Tent At The End Of The Universe’s red-lit, blacked-out foyer, but our noses are full of woodsmoke and perhaps a whiff of incense.

So far, so tent-like, and more so when we enter the moon-lampshaded, twinkly-LED-ceilinged, canvas-draped, be(DJ)decked dining room that’s refreshingly devoid of blue-light glare thanks to the no-phone-camera policy.

Safe to say, we’re not in London any more – more like the VIP restau at a Bedouin electronic music festival in some desert.

John Javier’s menu fits the mood: Middle Eastern-ish with a dash of whatever the eff he fancies (vis, wakame oil-slicked tzatziki).

We get the pickles cause they feat. beets and I’m under strict instructions from a chef friend who knows his roots as well as his onions to always order beetroot if it’s on-menu ‘cause it always bangs. He’s right in the case of these sweet-sour specimens with their moreish muskiness.

We swipe a crumpled handkerchief of springy, stretchy, zaatar-spiked flatbread through whipped tarama lent extra umami by onion ash, and borani: a shocking-pink, buttery-smooth blend of beets, labneh and tahini.

I burn my fingers dipping them in the molten honey-pomegranate molasses glaze of a cast iron panful of saganaki, but as the adage goes, ‘no pain no gain’, and that sticky mix was worth it: a hard contrast to the Marmite-y savour of the melted graviera cheese it cloaks. Slather the lot on toast, and IMO you have a strong candidate for the ultimate rarebit.

After that indulgence we coulda – shoulda – done without the Iberico pork schnitzel, but like nomads traversing a steep sand dune, we soldier on.

She’s a rich bitch alright: a whacking great slab of breaded pork whose juicy, fatty interior we mutually liken, not at all unfondly, to the clandestine pleasure of treating yourself to a sneaky Bernard Matthews Turkey Drummer.

Were we really in the desert, now’d be the time to stretch out on our backs under that starry sky, take a psychedelic or two, and contemplate our place in the universe. But we’re not, so instead we take our leave and contemplate our place (and The Tent’s decidedly out-of-London-experience) in a packed Central Line tube carriage instead.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • The Tent At The End Of The Universe, 17 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BP
  • Visit The Tent At The End Of The Universe’s website here
  • Find @thetentattheendoftheuniverse on Instagram

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