Test Driving Wilder - bringing the UK's larder into the heart of London

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchThe austerely beautiful dining room at Wilder

So what do we need to know about Wilder?

It's the newest restaurant to take over the basement dining room at Boundary in Shoreditch (where Tratra used to be). Running the kitchen is chef Richard McLellan (who comes here from Typing Room and Alyn Williams at The Westbury) and his partner in crime is none other than Sir Terence Conran.

Where is it?

You'll find Boundary hotel on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch (nearest station - Shoreditch High Street). As you go into the hotel lobby the stairs to the restaurant are on the right, but there's also a lift down too.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchOn both the bar and restaurant menu are these fantastic pigs head on beremeal crackers (£4.50).

What's the USP?

They say they aim to source 100% of their ingredients from independent and small scale suppliers from across the British Isles. That includes everything from seafood and meat through to foraged plants and while the drink list roams a little further afield, a lot of what's used in the cocktails too is made from local, seasonal produce.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

The easiest answer is here. There's a large separate bar with a cocktail list created by Alan Sherwood of Little Mercies in Crouch End. The drinks are superb, there's loads of room (including some lovely alcoves for date nights) and there's a separate bar snacks list that we're already planning to go back and hammer.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchA Champagne Rhubarb Gimlet and a Foraged Sour with woodruff (£10 each) were both wonderful and went down very well with these tempura cods cheeks with a yeast and parsley mayo (£4.50).

So what's on the menu itself?

As is de rigeur in London right now this is a modern menu split into snacks, small and then larger plates. Snack are loosely in the £4 range, small plates go from £8.50 up to £12 and then larger dishes are all in the £20s.

Here's what we had:

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchSeeded cracker, carrots, oil (£5) - lord knows how the chef gets something as simple as crackers with carrot emulsion to taste so good, but we practically licked the pot clean.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchTamworth collar salami with fennel - house-cured charcuterie (£7)

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchPartridge, hispi, russet and buckwheat (£24) - a plate of food which was spot on in terms of seasonality but also scored brilliantly on taste too.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchFallow deer with parsnip, kohlrabi and pine (£28.50) - we'll admit that this was arranged much better when it came to the table but we've messed it up to reveal the wonderfully tender deer that was hidden under the kohlrabi. 

What about vegetarians?

In addition to those amazing carrot dip and crackers there are a fair few veggie-friendly dishes on the menu including two that we had:

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchHen egg, chanterelles, turnip and thyme (£12) - a soothing wintry bowl of deep umami goodness.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchLeeks, Lancashire bomb and three-cornered garlic (£8.50) - great cheesy leeks.

Room for dessert?

You should easily find room for desserts - particularly when the dessert menu here is among the most interesting we've seen all year.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchBeremeal with goats milk and mugwort (£6.50) - reads like something Cadfael would cook up, but turns out to be a delicious dish of sweet beremeal crackers with goats milk ice-cream sprinkled with herby mugwort.

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchMeadowsweet with white chocolate and blueberries (£8) 

wilder restaurant review at the boundary in ShoreditchClearly we had to have the smoked pork fat and parsley root fudge - not least because it was just £1. 

What about wine?

In charge of the wine list here is Head Sommelier Lucy Ward. She's ex-Dinner by Heston and Noble Rot so you'd do well to put yourself in her hands. Her old-world list here features bottles from sustainable and biodynamic producers and we particularly loved the bottle of biodynamic Verdicchio from Fattoria San Lorenzo (£42) she chose for us. Her pairing with the desserts was also spot on.

Overall thoughts:

The changes to both the design and kitchen down here in the bowels of Boundary feel like the best fit yet. There's a modernity to the food here that hits that sweet spot between sustainability and hospitality. Add to that a cracking bar that's worth visiting on its own and it feels like McLellan and Sir Terence should have a hit on their hands.

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Wilder. Prices correct at time of publication


More about Wilder Restaurant & Bar

Where is it? 2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @wilder.london.

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