Words: Mallory Legg
The Dining Room at Fallow
In arguably the world's greatest city, London, a melting pot of culture and consequently food, there seems to still be a struggle, a competition, to create the best British cuisine the best at its country's own cuisine. The British cuisine in question is a pretty rigid one; notoriously unseasoned and stereotypically monotonous, repetitious and beige. If those stereotypes hold true, it would make sense that it is hard to find who is best at perfecting it… I suppose there are only so many things that can be fried and sandwiched within a bap… side of chips, please. All jokes aside, in a city and country full of sometimes unchanging menus, there are some British establishments going against the grain. I believe I may have just stumbled across the most impressive of the lot.
Fallow, founded by Chefs Jack Croft and William Murray in collaboration with career entrepreneur James Robson, established in 2019 and permanently set up shop in their St James location in 2021, has quickly established a notoriety within the London scene that most young restaurants could only fantasize about. But it is not luck that has brought good fortune to Fallow, but a distinct range of elements that sets them apart from the all too familiar crowd.
One of the many mouthwatering dishes at Fallow
When it comes to restaurants, there is one thing that never seems to bore me as it stealthily becomes more and more popular: sustainability. And you cannot talk about or understand Fallow without having a proper understanding of the consciousness that provides the framework of their ethos, mission, and dishes. Everything is treated equally at Fallow, from the garnishes to the main events, all elements are accounted for and each pop of color or punch of flavor has a traceable story and origin. Take, for example, the Fallow menu staple of the smoked cod’s head. Each week, fish suppliers Henderson Seafood and Bethnal Green Fish deliver 400 kilos of cod heads that otherwise would’ve been binned - waste that has turned into a showstopping and trailblazing creation, a must-try amongst the others on the Fallow menu.
A large cut of the menu is dedicated to beef, rumps, sirloins, ribeyes, burgers, and ribs, and for those who are red meat lovers, sustainability, in this case, is far from excluding you. Fallow’s meat is sourced by The Rare Breed Meat Company who are and have been committed to a totally free-range environment and strictly natural foods for four generations now. The most significant of the meat sourced is the ex-dairy cow, removed from the dairy industry and retired on green pastures and living off a natural diet - this is the meat that is used in each and every beef dish at Fallow.
A sleek and chic environment to enjoy refined British cusine
Looking past the meat and fish, you are left with the smaller, more trivial elements that tie up the Fallow dishes to make beautiful and cohesive inventions, bridging the gaps between ingredients. Garnishes are sourced by an independent forager, Martin Denny; mushroom substrates are provided by Isle of Wight Mushrooms, which are then experimented with and grown in-house at Fallow. The flour used for potato sourdough is sourced by Wild Farmed, which uses no pesticides and establishes agriculture as having the potential to be a solution rather than a contributor to the climate crisis. Even the oyster shell martini uses what would’ve been discarded oyster shells to infuse vodka to make an unparalleled drink. This team is setting a new standard and showing us all what it means to truthfully keep the mission of sustainability at the core of every single bite. They deserve the respect they have so quickly been granted.
With these principles of traceability and consciousness remaining at the core, Fallow makes another interesting and exciting choice when it comes to the construction of its brand. Social media is another one of those elements that are pushing the Fallow establishment to be not only on the British radar but the global one. Even the simplest of Instagram stalks can land you with how-to’s on classics like steak and eggs or even how to perfect Yorkshire puddings. You’ll get a look into the mushroom tree house and how on earth they could grow mushrooms in house in the middle of central London. There is a step-by-step gravy-making session with chef Will Murray as well as a question raised to members of the Fallow team, ‘what's your favorite restaurant in London?’ Shocking, right? In today's competitive world of food, we seldom get an opportunity to experience the assembling of our plates or to face the hands who make them. It seems we have grown accustomed to the disconnect between the kitchen and dining room, staff and customer. But stumbling across Fallow, it reminded me of how bizarre this convention seems.
A rather sumptious dessert
Scrap the all too familiar secrecy of high-end professional kitchens looking to make the grade and impress the Michelin standards and welcome in a new age of the inclusive kitchen, the inclusive chef, and the inclusive environment. Welcome chefs looking to share their superior knowledge on the very thing that keeps us alive and that encourages us to gather. Welcome kitchens inclined to share their recipes and their methods so that they can push and encourage us to indulge in the practice of making that sustenance for life more beautiful, more entrancing, more fun, and special.
Thank you, Fallow, not just for the way in which you gather your ingredients and for your follow through on promises made to our environment but for showing us that recipes are not always meant to be gatekept and where creativity is born, it is also meant to be shared. The kitchen and the dining room do not always have to maintain such a thick wall that separates them, and at Fallow, there is barely even a veil.