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Adam Handling at The Frog
Adam Handling at The Frog
Adam Handling at The Frog
Adam Handling at The Frog
Adam Handling at The Frog

Adam Handling at The Frog

LONDON

29 September 2019

As a self-taught cook the knowledge that you can glean from spending time in professional kitchens is invaluable. If you are wiling to put yourself out of your comfort zone and into chefs whites, they can serve as cookery classes on speed. As such, I try to get myself into a professional kitchen every few months to boost my skills and get inspired.

I was lucky enough to be passed on to the man of the moment, Adam Handling and into his kitchen in The Frog, just off The Strand this year. It’s a bit like turning up to a new job when you arrive in a new kitchen – you feel 15 again and sort of hope you’ll fit in. So I was delighted that when I arrived, the head chef, Clever, as well as the rest of the team, were extremely welcoming.

They plunged me straight in at the deep end prepping ingredients. When cooking ‘haute cuisine’ it will come as no surprise to learn that preparation is key. It’s the attention to detail of every aspect which makes everything so special – here, chicory is vacuumed packed with ice to intensify the flavour ‘pop’ when you eat it, beetroot is spiralised to add movement to the dish, edible flowers are dissected because they are so much prettier as just petals.

Despite all the seemingly complicated steps, the food at The Frog is remarkably unfussy and showcases the quality of ingredients. Dishes are playful and full of youth, put together by an equally young team, eager to prove their worth. They serve some of the dishes to customers on the restaurant floor and explain the thought behind the dish. I love this touch, it makes the restaurant more personable and often we miss that bridge between chef and end client, despite the advent of many more open kitchens.

I am consistently amazed by how hard chefs work. Everyone hears about the ridiculous hours and the temper tantrums they must endure but I’m not convinced we give them enough credit – the pressure that they are under for each service is fierce. And if you mess up, you can’t walk away and pull yourself together, you have to repeat the task and complete service…then do it all again tomorrow. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted and I take my hat off to all of them.

The Frog is the perfect location for a birthday meal or an anniversary dinner. It’s not cheap, but the food is meticulously prepared and presented. The lights are dim and it feels like an ‘occasion’; with liquid nitrogen involved in the puddings, tweezers involved to place petals on dishes, and sourdough cooked on demand and brought out with a quenelle of chicken butter…It ticks all the boxes of food theatre whilst still upholding exquisite flavours.

Adam Handling at The Frog

34-35 Southampton Street

Covent Garden

London WC2E 7HG