The Great Chase London has probably one of the world’s most vibrant restaurant scene. With such huge variety and choices on cuisines and styles, it’s never easy to make any decision for either lunch or dinner. This time we wanted to try traditional, British / local fare of food. British restaurants can be found easily. British restaurants that also offer a selection of Halal dishes quite rare. To go further, a Halal certified restaurant, with only British and locally sourced ingredients, all prepared according to Halal standards, as well as a bar that offers only non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails, quite impossible. We had to travel all the way up north, towards Islington. In this little residential neighbourhood, we found the only restaurant in London that was able to cater to all our demands. Here we found “The Great Chase” London's one and only British Fine Dining Halal Restaurant. We entered the restaurant and were greeted by one of the waiters. We double checked and reconfirmed our research, ensuring that everything that is being prepared and served at The Great Chase complies with Halal standards. We were reassured by the waiter, who took a little extra time to explain some of the food or drinks they serve in detail. Once we sat at our table we received the menu. The evening menu features choices of Pre-dinner snacks, starters, mains, aged steaks, burgers and sides. The variety of food is extensive, starters have choices of meat, seafood or vegetarian plates. For the mains the choices include poultry, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. A selection of dry aged Angus Beef steaks, Angus Beef or Chicken Burger complete the choices and offer alternatives for guests who do not wish to go for the fine dining and British fare.
We chose to order the Crunchy lamb shank and Black tiger prawns tempura as our appetizer, followed by Chicken and chestnut and Pan-fried duck breast with lotus root as our mains. We added a serving of Cornish new potatoes as a side. The aperitif, made of fresh Juices and Cordials was a perfect and refreshing mixed drink to start our evening. Our food was served after a few minutes and the presentation on the plate was very good. It was clear that the chefs in the kitchen prepared each plate with highest skills and passion. Although we sat in a small restaurant in a residential area, this could have been as well a luxury and more posh location, like downtown area of London. The Slow cooked and shredded lamb shank in crispy panko crust came with roasted mushrooms and horseradish mousse. The lamb was still juicy and tender, while the panko was crunchy and in combination with the other ingredients, this dish was delicious. The Black tiger prawns tempura with sweet guacamole cream, broccoli and red pepper chutney was a large portion, considering it being an appetizer. Also, here, the cooking was on point, all ingredients fresh and they complemented each other very well. After we finished the appetizer, I had a little look around the restaurant. The restaurant has three areas, depending on the size of a group or party, guests sit accordingly on either small and cozy tables or on longer tables for a group. For big groups an entire area with couple of booths is also available. A dedicated prayer area caught my attention, this is something I didn't expect to see, the happier I was that the Restaurant Management really put thought and attention to details. A quick chat with one of the owners revealed that the British owner and chef has long and vast experience in French, British and continental fine dining cuisine. He worked along some famous chefs in award winning restaurants. The decision to operate a British Halal restaurant, was the result of non-being available in London at all. They use only traceable meats from licensed suppliers, vegetables that were locally sourced, hence the menu is regional and seasonal and changes every other month. Back at our table we were served our mains. The perfectly roasted chicken breast came with a black olive stuffed leg, chestnut emulsion, winter garnish, grilled leek and demi-glace. Presentation on the Plate was great, the meat so soft and in combination with demi-glace very delicious. The Pan-fried duck breast were actually two, a big serving. With confit duck leg in a crispy cannelloni and different slices of sticky lotus root, with orange endives salad leaves, this was an outstanding dish. With this last plate, the chefs in the kitchen and people who run the restaurant, demonstrated in the best possible way, that Halal doesn't mean Middle Eastern food only. We were served typical British cuisine and were totally satisfied with the choices we made. The portions were bigger than similar restaurant in more central areas. The service was attentive and friendly, not too stiff and one would always feel being well looked after. Replenishment of condiments or sauces was done swift and quickly. As our tummy's were full and with smiles on our faces we shared some of the memories and day time experiences from earlier. The waiter offered us the dessert menu, at first, we rejected giving the fact that we were really full. Then, however we thought of at least sharing one plate, as desserts usually are the highlight of an evening meal. We chose Chocolate fondant with pineapple, white chocolate cream and a scoop of ice cream. The waiter suggested to try a second dessert, to which we politely declined, but he insisted on us to order Nougat glacé, nougat brulée, plum gel with vanilla espuma. Apparently, this is their bestselling item on the entire menu. Some guests only visit just for the dessert. As predicted, both desserts were the highlight of our evening. So sweet and delicate, with high quality chocolates and nougat. Wonderful flavours of sweetness. Finally, we managed to finish everything and didn't regret for eating more than usual. It was an interesting and great experience we had made. We requested the bill and made the payment. The young British owner wished us farewell and we thanked him in return for a great dining experience.
Knowing that this restaurant is unique in London, we returned to our Hotel happily.
We highly recommend The Great Chase to everyone.
Text by Toni Riethmaier, picture credit: sheenieshaikh