Hot Spot: for clients who like substance over style, go Native

Food envy abounds at a natural food restaurant that won't stay a secret for long.

The story

Native’s shtick is foraged foods: local, natural, seasonal and, above all, hand-picked.

The website focuses heavily on the background and ethos of the two patrons – Imogen and Ivan – it seems to be as much about them as their food.

"Imogen has always been at one with nature, running her family falconry business and managing Rufus the hawk," says, while Ivan "worked for the truly inspirational River Cottage HQ in Devon, fine-tuning his skills and further developing his passion for natural, foraged and seasonal British produce". I was intrigued to meet these two and wasn’t disappointed.

The reality

We immediately saw why Native focuses on its patrons. They make themselves known straight away, with a likeable enthusiasm, chatty demeanour and admirable hands-on approach.

It felt special to be dealing with them throughout the meal, which only added to what was excellent food.

The damage

Very reasonable – £73. Three people having three courses.

Signature dish

Wood pigeon kebabs (pictured).

Dining experience ****

I got food envy when our starters arrived. While my Palourde clams, hot-smoked belly broth and wild garlic was excellent, my co-diners’ wood pigeon kebabs looked out of this world. However, food envy stopped when my venison hash, fried hen’s egg and broad bean tops arrived as the main. Delicious, nutritious and just the right size to satisfy. Dessert was a lifetime top three: rhubarb and rosemary, coriander honeycomb and meadowsweet cream.

Chances of a last-minute booking *****

Likely – it was pleasantly busy but there weren’t queues out the door. Though that will likely change.

Client wow factor ****

Perfect for clients who prefer substance over style.

Overall ****

Relaxed, authentic, home-grown.

Reviewed by Pete Hendrick, director, Octopus Group

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