[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hat’s right. I ate kangaroo. And crocodile too. What the hootenanny was I up to? Zomato sent me on a lunch trip to Archipelago, a restaurant in Fitzrovia specialising in all things peculiar for the palate. Bug salads, camel burgers, and deep fried insects are all on the menu. But if you want something ‘normal’, there are regular items to order too- I roped Ismay along for the experience… we’ve never had a lunch like it.
Stepping into Archipelago is like walking into Professor Trelawney’s class room. It’s steeped in rich velvets, peacock feathers, and figurines. I sank into my plush chair like a pillow; definitely one of the more comfiest places I’ve sat down to lunch!
I will admit, I was a little bit conflicted before coming here, but then I decided how is eating an exotic animal meat any different to eating beef or chicken? What makes either animal more ‘important’ than the other? They’re both farmed for the table so with that thought in my head, I decided to give it a go. Being half Malaysian and having lived around the Far East for a big chunk of my life, I’d like to think I’m not squeamish. I mean there was that one time I ate turtle jelly so how hard could this be? I thought I would be down for it. I unravelled our lunch menu scrolls (yes scrolls) and that’s when I realised… I just couldn’t do the bugs. Instead, we decided to compromise with a starter of mixed sliders and ‘regular’ main meals.
Here we go! A platter of kangaroo, crocodile and the very exotic errr pork sliders. Garnishes were a £1 each and we decided to get pickled cucumbers, pickled samphire, mussaman curry sauce and black garlic mayonnaise to dip into.
Kangaroo meat…tastes like lamb. If I was blindfolded I would have assumed I was eating a mutton or lamb burger. In fact, I really enjoyed it! Sorry ‘roo. Then the crocodile slider- breadcrumbed and crispy…it was like eating a chicken nugget. Adventurous part over! Our main meal was next…
A duck confit salad with kimchi and spinach, and a vegetarian Paneer curry. We plonked everything in the middle and shared it with a side of creamed potato and smoked chips.
The kimchi gave the salad a good fiery kick, but the duck was a little bit too dry for my taste. The curry on the other hand was delicious- really rich and warming. It had little pieces of fig, which I thought added a nice sweet and savoury contrast. The smoked chips were just chips; nothing fancy there. The buttery creamed potato however was the perfect remedy for a cold blustery day.
The dessert menu was hidden within an old book, bookmarked with a wax seal. With no room for dessert, we finished off our meal with a hot drink instead. Mint tea for Ismay, and a Vietnamese coffee for me…
My Vietnamese coffee had a layer of sweet condensed milk at the bottom, topped with black coffee. You then stir it all up with your teaspoon to make a sweet, strong brew. In Malaysia it’s just called a Kopi that you would get in a regular ‘Kopitiam’ (coffee shop) and sipping on this brought back memories of late nights sitting in a kopitiam with my friends…needless to say, this cup of coffee was better than any dessert I could have ordered.
If Archipelago intrigues you, find out what Zomato visitors thought about their experiences here.
Don’t let the idea of ‘weird’ food put you off; their regular menu is nice and it’s definitely one of the more quirkier places I’ve visited!
53 Cleveland Street