Half Turkish, half Bulgarian Chef Silvena Rowe is a face that many of us recognise for television, whether Saturday Kitchen, Market Kitchen or Good Food, Silvena is by no means a new face but she has recently just opened a new restaurant in London and I went along to check it out.Silvena is a commanding figure of a woman; Incredibly statuesque, with piercing blue eyes and her signature spiked blonde hair, she isn't a face you would forget in a hurry. She has landed one of the most prime spots in town for her new restaurant Quince, which is located at the Mayfair Hotel, attracting a healthy volume of patrons, celebrities and papparazzi each week.The cookery remains true to Silvena's roots and mirrors the style of cooking featured in her two latest books 'Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume' and 'Orient Express'. There are plenty of spices in her cookery, but never over powering and always complimentary. Food from these parts of the world are flavoursome, diverse and always have something to suit everyone's tastes.The menu has so much choice that I didn't really know what to go for, especially as I was on my own, so I chose cumin-spiced calamari with quince Aioli, lamb Börek pastry cigars and vegetable Börek bites with a lemon tahini dip, smoked aubergine dip with pomegranate molasses and lastly one of her signature dishes of giant prawns with pomegranate butter, flecked with pomegranate seeds.
This is my kind of food; food that is plentiful, with different flavours and textures but nothing that overpowers anything else. If anything, this kind of food was made to compliment each other, perfect for sharing (if you so wish) or eating, greedily, by yourself. The Böreks were perfectly crisp on the outside, crusted with nigella and sesame seeds and filled with moist almost sweet, lamb with a delicate spicing. The Börek bites had a little more kick to them, perfect for a vegetable dish.
My favourite dish had to the prawns with pomegranate butter, so elegant with a perfect acidic balance from the pomegranate molasses to cut through the lashings of delicious foaming butter. A finally scattering of pomegranate seeds and a few flowers make the dish visually stunning too. The calamari was wonderfully crunchy and the cumin was gentle and not at all overpowering, paired with the sweetened quince Aioli. The smoked aubergine dip with tahini and generous swirls of pomegranate molasses was heavenly and thankfully I refused the several offerings of bread as otherwise I would have ended up eating about 4 slices of the stuff laden with the smoky aubergine dip.
Silvena is a colourful character; Very animated, very vocal, very friendly. In fact I saw her buzzing from table to table throughout my meal and she spent at least 10 minutes with each table, which was a very nice touch and I think many clients appreciate this. Quince has an open kitchen and you can see absolutely everything that is being prepared which makes for entertaining viewing and for food geeks like myself, I find it absolutely rivoting! Not to mention the fact that some of her Chef Brigade are very cute indeed. I digress... Quince is a great place to come any time of day really and I'm told there is a great vibe in the evening with the cocktail bar in full swing. It's definitely a place I will come back to.
Quince - Stratton Street, London W1J 8LT
Tel: 020 7915 3892