For our starters we chose the most extraordinary but still appealing dishes they had on offer: crocodile wrapped in vine leaves, and zebra roulade with mango and raspberry chutney. Zebra, as it turns out, doesn’t have much of its own taste, nor a particularly good texture, but the spices it was cooked in and the chutney made it quite a tasty, Indian-influenced dish. Stephen’s crocodile tasted a bit like fishy chicken, and though I thought it was probably the nicest vine-wrapped dish I’ve ever had, this doesn’t say much as my previous experiences have been of vine-wrapped cold rice. The plum dipping sauce was what really made this dish. Both the crocodile and the zebra came were £10.00 or so and as you can see, you didn’t get much.
|Zebra on a zebra plate|
|Crocodile on stone slab|
But on to the main. Again, we plumped for the unusual, but ones that sounded good. I had the ‘Hot Marsupial’ which was an Asian-inspired dish of kangaroo with bok choi and water chestnuts, with a tzatziki-like sauce. It was tasty enough, and the meat was similar to beef. Stephen’s choice of bison with cassava chips (the Pontiac Rodeo) was also quite similar to beef, but gamier with more depth of flavour. I actually thought his dish was really good. I really liked the bison and I really liked the cassava chips, but Stephen thought the serving was paltry for the price and that the mushroom ketchup was bitter. Each of these dishes were about £19.00.
|Kangaroo with greens|
The restaurant is cute, it is so overly decorated it does start to feel a bit like you’ve entered another world. And the service was friendly. Something about it wasn’t quite right though. It should have been quite a romantic setting but the ambience didn’t provide this. I think it was too quiet, even though there was some background music and we were sitting among other diners. When a large party of office workers came in, rather than being annoyed they were spoiling the mood, I was pleased that they created a bit more of an atmosphere.
Apparently Archipelago is closing at the end of the autumn to search for bigger premises, although it wasn’t exactly full when we were there. I wonder if it will actually reopen, or if London will miss it if it doesn’t...