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John Doe: restaurant review | Jay Rayner

With its flavourful dishes cooked over wood and charcoal, John Doe does a great line in the big smoke

46 Golborne Road, London W10 (020 8969 3280). Meal for two, including wine and service: £90

Meet Bertha. I like her, even though she made me smell. Or to be more exact, even though she made me smell more than usual. Then again I’ve experienced what she can do, and what she can do is very pleasing indeed – so pleasing I’ll let a bit of whiff and stench pass. Without Bertha I’m not entirely sure my lunch at John Doe, just off London’s Portobello Road, would have been worth writing to anywhere about, let alone home. With her, a set of humble ingredients were allowed to present the best of themselves. She’s that most admirable of things: an enabler. I won’t lie. I want Bertha in my kitchen. After all, who wouldn’t want a serious chunk of bespoke wood-fired oven?

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