What do you do when you’ve been a chef for some of the world’s most luxurious hotels? When you’ve travelled the world to exotic locations, and worked with the who’s who in plenty of different countries? If you’re Amanda Gale, you return to your roots and show them how its done. Owner, head chef and stylist of Pheast, Amanda has created a space that certainly stands out on the strip of restaurants, shops and cafes at Charing Cross.
Walking inside is like walking into the pages of a Vogue Living magazine – just the right amount of white ceramic knickknacks, mainly vases in all shapes and sizes overflowing with growing vines, succulents and feathers. Delicate, detailed sketches of vegetables, fruit, fish and more feathers are pinned artfully to the walls. It’s cosy and comfortable, but still impeccably stylish.
And the same goes for the menu. Gale isn’t afraid to test the boundaries of a neighbourhood restaurant. Small plate dishes are designed to be shared, with a clay oven in the kitchen turning the humble butternut pumpkin into a steaming wedge of wonder, topped with sweet onions, pistachio pesto and Persian feta. A big top knot of burrata slowly unfurls onto a bed of beetroot, grapes, vincotto and hazelnut. Fried zucchini blossoms melt in your mouth, the perfect balance of crispy stems and creamy sheep cheese. Locals practically line up for grilled jumbo octopus on a bed of hummus and chickpea salad, and then there’s green chilli lamb cutlets and Hiramasa kingfish crudo. We could go on and on and on. The menu isn’t enormous, but it’s jam packed with flavours, and dishes just seem to get better and better, arriving on beautiful pieces of crockery that are green, white, round or square.
And then there’s dessert. A decadent Chocolate Nemesis brownie that’s every bit as deadly as the name suggests. An orange almond cake bursts into flavour thanks to poached rhubarb and blood orange slices. There won’t be a crumb left on the plate of a deconstructed “whipped” rose cheesecake.
Pheast is a feast for all the senses – and it’s currently BYO, which makes it even better, so run, don’t walk.