Tart London was founded by Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones in 2012, born from a mutual love of food. The pair used to provide bespoke catering to the fashion industry, making sure top models and actors were properly fuelled on shoots. Then came a food column in London’s ES Magazine, featuring their delicious, wholesome recipes, followed by a cookbook, and now a new venture, Wild by Tart. This is a one-stop shop for a variety of things – there’s a restaurant, bar, deli, coffee kiosk, a shop area featuring Insta-worthy homeware and lifestyle pieces that also pop up in the restaurant, and an event space and photography studio.
Wild by Tart sits in Eccleston Yards, a pretty courtyard a short stroll from Victoria station. It’s housed in a 19th-century former power station and coal store that then became a car park, and Carr-Ellison and Jones have transformed 9,000sq ft into a cavernous but cosy multi-purpose space. The ceilings may be high (there’s even a mezzanine level that provides a private dining area), but lashings of greenery and rattan furniture do a great job softening any nods to the building’s less-welcoming past – this is boho meets industrial at its best. The crockery is an eclectic mix of earthenware bowls in strong colours, while the cutlery is purposefully worn to rustic effect – it’s the little details that make the space feel upmarket but relaxed. An open kitchen and dining counter dominate one corner, inviting you to pull up a seat and tuck in to fresh oysters (caught that day) beneath the steel ducts.
Expect a seasonal menu, and what’s on it really depends on what the restaurant’s family farms and local producers are offering up at the time, with food waste reduction playing a big part in the company ethos. This is fresh, colourful food with an international feel, as dishes often take inspiration from the founders’ travels. Along with the main menu, there is a Bites menu of smaller dishes, perfect for accompanying a bottle of wine and a catch-up – the homemade bread with whipped Marmite butter is a must. Everything is designed for sharing, and we were recommended two to three dishes off the main menu per person.
The burrata with speck, hazelnut, roasted grapes and fig leaf vinegar was a great place to start, arriving in a burst of colour and surprising textures. The sweetness of the grapes perfectly complemented the saltiness of the delicate speck, while the hazelnuts added a pleasing crunch to the creamy burrata. From the grill, the sticky octopus with preserved lemon, yoghurt and pickled saffron chilli arrived artfully stacked on an ocean-blue ceramic dish – the yoghurt balancing out the kick of the chilli perfectly. When there’s a wood-oven section you have to make the most of it, and the slow-roasted lamb shoulder with creamy polenta, topped with roasted tomatillo and chilli salsa reduced us to silence as the hearty winter fare worked its warming magic. For dessert, the garam masala-spiced ice cream is worth loosening your belt for – one scoop is enough if you just want something sweet to finish things off. But if you’re looking to go all-out, the miso caramel cookie skillet is worth the longer wait.
To drink, the Wild cocktail list is a good place to start. The Alternative Sour (pisco, sage, honey bitters and citrus) is sharp and fresh, while the Oaxaca Sour (pronounced ‘wahaca’, with Mezcal Unión Uno, citrus, agave nectar, hibiscus and acai float) is beautifully smoky. For dinner, move on to the perfectly curated wine list, with a selection from a variety of countries, including rosé from Portugal and orange wine from Slovenia.
For snacks, a variety of sharing plates, dessert and cocktails for two, £120.
The restaurant side of Wild by Tart is as versatile as the rest of the space. Whether you want to share a nourishing dinner from an eco-conscious menu that’s sure to show you something new, or just kick things off with a damn fine drink before heading off into the night, this is a safe choice.
Wild by Tart, 3-4 Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ; wildbytart.com