Hot table: Cora Pearl

Covent Garden’s new restaurant opening.

Parental responsibilities mean that we don’t get out much these days, at least not together. And when we do, we generally don’t venture into the West End, so I’m at a bit of a loss to know where to take hubby for pre-birthday dinner drinks. We wander around aimlessly, feeling uninspired, and then an unexpected downpour drenches us, so we call time on the drinks mission and head straight for the restaurant. Goodness knows why we didn’t think of that in the first place…

cora pearl inteiors


Cora Pearl has been open for just a week when we visit, but anticipation has been building for months (it’s from the team behind the diminutive Kitty Fisher’s, which opened in Shepherds Market in late 2014 and quickly garnered a following of foodies and a well-earned reputation for being oh so cool). Just like Kitty Fisher’s, Cora Pearl is named after one of Europe’s most famous courtesans, and its sumptuous interiors – parquet floors, dark textiles, tarnished mirrors and vintage lights – are inspired by her demi-monde lifestyle.

Safe hands

The kitchen is headed up by Kitty’s head chef George Barson, who is now overseeing both restaurants, so we know we’re in safe hands. I’ve been told by those in the know that we can’t not try the chips, and I always obey instructions (though I can’t help thinking that those on my neighbours’ table look underwhelming). We start, though, with a serving of bread with yeasted butter (curious but definitely delicious) and a cocktail apiece while we peruse the menu. Both bode well for what is to come.


Each dish is beautifully presented, with perfectly balanced flavours. For me, an opening act of tomatoes with creamy goat’s curd is followed by fish stew with croutons (although cheese on toast would be a better moniker for the crispy toasts topped with mounds of cheese – I’m in heaven); while hubby tucks into the king of all cheese and ham toasties, and then a gorgeous pork dish. And the chips, oh my… Chunky but crispy all the way through, they are the holy grail of fries. I’ve been dreaming of them ever since.

It would be hard for dessert to compete, but it makes a valiant effort – we share a coffee and cardamom sponge with milk sorbet and lick the plate clean. Cora promised to delight and she delivered – we feel smug at being among the first to sample her wares, and will be back.

30 Henrietta Street, WC2E (020 7324 7722;