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Addendum, 1 Seething Lane EC3

The opening of a fine dining restaurant in the City of London (the financial heart) used to be a particularly welcome event. The City used to be a culinary desert until relatively recently. Every lunchtime there was a traffic jam as taxis took City slickers to the West End for long business lunches. But now there is plenty of choice, and Addendum brings yet more opportunities for the gastronomically inclined to enjoy. The chef is Tom Ilic, who gained a brilliant reputation at Bond's in the City, and before that at The New End in Hampstead, both of which we reviewed earlier in Dine-Online.

Addendum's presence is not immediately apparent from the street, hidden away as it is behind the rather bland looking "Brasserie". The other entrance is via the lobby of the Apex City of London Hotel, within which Addendum is located. But don't be put off - this is no typical hotel restaurant in the old sense, rather it is a smart stylish restaurant where a friend and I dined really well the other evening.

Now that the game season is long over, offal has become the latest fashionable food on many London menus. This is good news for me, since I love it, and we have food writers and TV presenters like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Clarissa Dickson-Wright to thank for the revival of interest in those parts of food animals that had become unmentionable in our sanitised, supermarket led world.

Tom Ilic comes from Serbia, where they probably have fewer qualms about pig's cheeks, calves' sweetbreads, cock kidneys and calf's head, all of which have recently featured on his  list of starters alone. Not that there isn't plenty of choice left for the more squeamish among you - anyone for Cornish crab, or smoked haddock tortellini? I had the calf's head croustillade - the meat is rather like a rillette, and comes in a crisp fried envelope of pastry and some yummy caramelised sweetbread and lots of fresh, bright green broad beans. It was dressed with sauce ravigote, described by the great Carème in his Art de la Cuisine Française au XIXe Siècle. He calls, amongst other things, for chopped gherkins, capers, lemon juice and Chablis, and it must be strained through silk! Tom's sauce was piquant, not over-reduced and cut the richness of the dish well.

My guest Jeremy started with a "tasting of foie gras " which included an ultra smooth paté, a suitably robust terrine and a pan fried lobe of the virgin liver accompanied by a confit of poached rhubarb. He was very enthusiastic about this veritable fantasia of foie gras, and went on to base the rest of his meal around themes and variations.

His next adventure was a passacaglia of pork - loin on pickled cabbage, belly with crackling and apple, tête de porc with parsley mash, and black pudding on a patty made from trotter. The detail of all this showed care and skill, and must require intense efforts of preparation. Meanwhile I had some delicious scallops, diver caught of course, with croquettes made from the little bit of highly flavoured meat from the porker's tail. So none of that little piggy was wasted.

Jeremy's final set of variations was a chaconne of chocolate, which included a molten centred fondant, a wickedly dark chocolate tart and an ice cream with a soft mousse-like texture. He was able to allow me a tasting but it was clearly quite a sacrifice on his part! Other desserts included caramel mousse and poached pear, roasted figs, and banana tarte tatin. There's a first class wine list, and the sommelier is a lady whose night off it was when we were there. Her place was ably filled by a charming young South African, Leah Fellstad, who was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about both the food and wine. We enjoyed an excellent meal and have no hesitation in recommending Addendum.

Clifford Mould May 2006

Addendum - no 1, Seething Lane, London EC3N 4AX
T: 020 7977 9500

Starters £7.50 - £14.50 (Foie Gras) Mains: ££18.50 - £24.50 (Black leg Norfolk chicken with truffles) Puddings all £7.50
Open Monday - Friday for lunch and dinner
Brasserie open every day

Passacaglia and chaconne are two forms of baroque musical variation.

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