I was invited along to Plateau, a magnificent modern restaurant in the heart of Canary Wharf. We were greeted by head chef Allan Pickett who is an exceptionally passionate and switched on craftsman. Dispelling the stereotypes of stressful commercial kitchen environment, he was hospitable from the word go and I felt relaxed and welcomed into his work space. Here to experience the latest in grilling technology, the Josper grill, we donned our aprons and got to work.
Allan’s bespoke butcher, Turtons of Devon, gave us a masterclass in different cuts of beef. Master butcher Andrew Turton proceeded to dismember a large chunk of cow into cote de boeuf and ribeye steaks. He explained how their meat is matured for 28 days, til it become a rich reddy-brown colour, unlike the bright red meat often found in supermarkets. Allan requested the bones to be left on the steaks he serves as it keeps the structure of the meat together better during cooking.
After this it was time to get to work prepping the food for the Josper grill. I was set the task of pinboning a couple of fresh seabass, and stuffing them with roasted peppers and caramalised onions. Others were charged with making beef burgers. The Josper grill is an incredible piece of kit that uses charcoal in an enclosed oven, cooking food in minutes at extreme temperatures. In fact, Heston Blumenthal heats his to 500 degrees! Searingly hot, the grill leaves meats and vegetables with a lightly smoky BBQ taste but retaining a succulent juiciness. When the burgers, steaks, ribs and seabass were served up, the flesh was meltingly soft and full of flavour. Very moreish indeed!
I looks forward to returning to Plateau, to cook alongside Allan’s staff again in the near future. In the meantime, go and take in the unpretentious atmosphere and delightful contemporary French cuisine. A special mention goes to the front of house staff who were charming and helpful, a refreshing quality in restaurants of this calibre where staff can sometimes be frosty and intimidating. Don’t just take our word for it; the place was packed with fellow diners on a busy Saturday lunch service, from couples to families alike.