I returned to my favourite little Parisian hotspot on Wednesday, eager to try out the food on offer at bar Remedy’s pop up restaurant.
I’d somehow managed to convince Simon Hunter – owner of said bar – to step away from his many duties long enough to enjoy a meal with me, so I was very excited to have him as my dinner companion for the evening.
The magic that bewitched me on an earlier visit was not lost, and even with a smaller crowd, the place oozed debonair vibes. Melodic tinkling of swing and blue notes drifted through the speakers, candles flickered at every table and well-dressed bar staff took the time to ask me how my day was and deliver service with a genuine smile – I can’t remember the last time I visited anywhere in which customer service was taken so seriously.
With a rumbling belly, I opted for a glass of my favourite Sauvignon Blanc from an extensive wine list and turned my attention to the menu, lovingly curated by award-winning Chef, Jimmy Key. I really appreciated how simple the offerings were: the last thing a hungry diner wants after the stresses of a long day in the office is to be bamboozled by overly-complex menus and endless choice. On Wednesday, Jimmy was serving up two starters: butternut soup with white crab or Bruschetta with goats cheese and heritage tomatoes; and two mains: Beef and spiced sausage goulash or Fillet of red snapper with celeriac puree, Pudsey carrots and roasted artichokes – Yum!
“The thing about Jimmy’s menu,” Simon said, tapping his fingers against the chalkboard as we pondered what to choose “…..is that we don’t know what’s going to be on it until the last minute because he’s so passionate about sourcing the freshest, finest ingredients that he’s often still at Market creating his menu the day before.”
Simon is serious about Bar Remedy customers having a great time. Jimmy is serious about bar Remedy customers eating great food. It’s a match made in business heaven, truly, and it’s refreshing to see.
Finally, we decided to order both starters and both mains before taking to the petite seating area and catching up over wine as though we’d been friends forever. Our starters came in good time – delivered by the Chef himself and I was keen to ask him about his foraging ways.
“The tomatoes are from Pudsey and the cheese is from York,” Jimmy told us with an air of confidence afforded only by those who truly care about their produce. “I want to create honest food that’s all about the flavours and to do that you have to search for the best.”
The starters were truly moreish – smooth, pureed soup packed with all kinds of good and a crunchy Bruschetta topped with tomatoes so delicious that I had to wrestle forks with Simon for the last one. The dishes are just the right size, too; perfect for lining the stomach in preparation for the main course.
“What’s your aim with these dishes?” I asked of Jimmy as he served up our main courses.
“Good grub at affordable prices,” Jimmy told us, stepping back to proudly eye-up his creations. “We support local, we support independent and it’s really important that we’re educating people about what it is to serve simple, honest food.”
We excitedly tucked into his offerings – my favourite being the fillet of red snapper which tasted exactly how a good fish should taste – fresh, firm and subtle at first bite, before crumbling into my mouth. In contrast to my light main course was Simon’s hearty goulash – the perfect meaty autumn belly-filler with just the right kick of spice to it. The dishes were small but deceptively satisfying and as we pushed away empty plates it was clear that Jimmy had the sizing spot on, also.
“What did you think?” Chef asked, once the plates were gone and the wine was flowing.
“Amazing,” I confessed, meaning it wholeheartedly. “The food and the price.”
And, as I was feeling uncharacteristically European after that meal, I planted an air kiss on both of his cheeks by way of thanks. I admire Jimmy’s no-frills culinary approach and it definitely compliments Simon’s no-frills way of running things at Bar Remedy. Collaboratively, these two prove that excellence can be delivered when you bring things back to basics – a Chef who hunts high and low for the best local ingredients, a bar owner serving fantastic wines to good people in a super chill space in which you can simply take pleasure in it all. What more could a paying customer want?
You, too, can chow down on the product of Jimmy Keys creative, culinary licence for yourself and join in with Delicious Wednesdays each week from 5pm for just £15 per person (for two sublime courses!) Magic!