What: A tasting menu-only fine dining concept that’s ‘built around sustainability’, and housed within Camden’s new Boxpark-esque Buck Street eco market.
Who: Wildflower is the creation of Irish celebrity chef Adrian Martin. Despite only being 28 years old, Martin has more than a decade’s worth of industry experience, having first worked in a restaurant kitchen when he was 14. He has most prominently cooked at fine dining restaurants Bon Appetite in County Dublin, and MacNean House in County Cavan; both of which feature in the Michelin Guide. More recently he has written and released two cookbooks – Fakeaway, and Create Beautiful Food at Home – and regularly features on primetime Irish TV chat show The Six O' Clock Show. Speaking to BigHospitality, Martin says it’s the money he’s made from the books and his TV appearances that has allowed him to put together the fund to launch his own restaurant venture.
The food: The restaurant serves a seasonal eight-course tasting menu inspired by Martin’s Irish heritage, priced at £60 (or £110 with an accompanying wine flight) with either a meat or vegan option available. Dishes primarily focus on locally sourced produce – including herbs and shoots grown in Buck Street’s communal Garden Terrace – with each one championing a foraged ingredient. The sample meat-based menu includes Jerusalem artichoke veloute; turbot with courgette flower and a sweet spicy broth; and dry-aged short rib of beef served with truffle, wild mushrooms, and lumper potato. A two or three-course lunch menu (two courses for £25, three for £36) is also be available, and features a more causal offering of ‘uncomplicated’ dishes like deep fried oysters with sea truffle and harissa; and braised cheek of Irish beef with wild mushrooms and red wine jus.
The vibe: Choosing to open within a shipping container in the heart of Camden would presumably mean having a visually loud, excessively trendy design. But Wildflower’s look is more ornately classical, and – set against a clutch of street food operators – is all the more striking for it. Think neutral tones of white and turquoise; pristine folded napkins; long white tablecloths; and a plush, cream-coloured pile carpet. At only 30 covers, it’s a small and intimate space, which generously complements the delicacy of Martin's menu.
And another thing: In a bid to save money, much of the decorating was done by Martin and his brother, including sourcing the pictures hanging on the wall. Most notable is a painting drunkenly done by Martin and his girlfriend after a bottle of wine one night; and a photo of Martin’s brother with his back to the camera against a fiery autumnal setting which, according to the chef, went viral on social media a few years back.
Unit 2.16 - 2.17, Camden (Buck Street) Market, Camden High St, London NW1 8QP