Restaurant of the week: Adesse
Our restaurant of the week is the newly opened Addressan exciting addition to the capital’s vegan food scene
Vegan may be coming to an end, but diners of all culinary tastes should head to Selfridges’ new plant-based Adesse restaurant. Launched at the end of 2021, it is the first London adventure of Matthew Kenney, the famous American chef who counts Leonardo DiCaprio and Miley Cyrus among his fans. Its launch is part of Selfridges’ wider Project Earth initiative, a commitment to changing the way we shop – which, in the food realm, translates to ‘less meat, better meat’.
Despite being located in one of the capital’s busiest department stores, Adesse exudes a serene and calm atmosphere. The name means “to be present” in Latin, and that’s what the interiors aim to encourage, with a minimalist design, comfortable cabins and large windows overlooking the city below. It’s the perfect place for some respite after an afternoon of struggling with the crowds of Oxford Street.
The food is part of this atmosphere of well-being. A vibrant menu will challenge anyone who thinks vegan food is boring, with colorful and innovative dishes served like works of art – with everything prepared from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Many dishes are plant-based variations of the classics. For example, there is an oven-baked raclette sharing board and a vegan version of a frittata served with cashew yogurt and topped with grated vegetables. The crab cakes are made with jackfruit, and there’s even a rather nice cheese plate, with three types of vegan cheese with seed crackers. The potato and celeriac rösti is a treat for the taste buds: the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a fennel and apple flavor that works well.
For main dishes, the deconstructed lasagna stands out. With its rich sauce and oozing layers of cheese, it’s hard to compete with the traditional Italian dish, but Kenny’s version offers something new. Here, it is served cold and presented as a tower made up of zucchini, tomato, pistachio pesto and macadamia; you can really taste the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
Another highlight is the spicy udon, a fiery, warming bowl of noodles served with shiitake mushrooms, seared tempeh and roasted cashews. There’s also a cacio e pepe number made with kelp noodles and pea shoots, as well as a root vegetable burger. Whatever you order, be sure to add a side of mashed fingerling potatoes, which are served with a deep plus truffle aioli.
After all this you will no doubt be satisfied, but since everything is quite light, there will be room for the pudding. Kenney is known for his jaw-dropping desserts – and Adesse certainly delivers on that front. Your choice of hibiscus cheesecake, lime cream with shortbread and crunchy chocolate and salted caramel, served with vegetable ice cream. Who needs dairy products?
As for drinks, a short but sweet selection of wines – sparkling, white, red and rosé – as well as an impressive cocktail list. War of the Roses is a botanical concoction blended with gin, rose, lavender, and yuzu, while Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cherry is a rich bourbon and cocoa-based drink.
The last word
A decade ago, it’s unlikely that a high-end store like Selfridges would have opened an all-plant-based restaurant – but, increasingly, we realize that vegan food can also be haute cuisine. Chefs like Kenney play a big role in the evolution of designs, proving that it can be both exciting and indulgent. At a time when we all need to cut back on our meat consumption, surely that’s a good thing.
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Purple/ Six By Nico