I suspect that the Official Gluten-Eating Husband (GEH) has some eastern European ancestry hidden somewhere, because nothing makes him happier than anything pickled, smoked or made into a dumpling; especially if there’s beetroot on the side; so I booked Baltic as a treat for him. I was a little nervous having survived my trips to Poland and Lithuania largely on room service tomato soup, but I needn’t have been – the cheery waiter handled my diet expertly, immediately handing me a menu they had prepared with all of my (many) options marked on them.
These days I’m unused to choice, so the menu which is a whistlestop tour of anywhere east of Germany and north of the Mediterranean was somewhat overwhelming. Figs cosy up next to okra whilst most of the dishes are more classic northern-European fare including cured meats, game, and yes – beetroot. Sadly the blinis and dumplings are off limits for coeliacs, but if you follow the recommendation to punctuate your courses with frozen mini carafes of delicious home-flavoured vodkas (plum and chilli, lemongrass); you won’t feel like you missed out.
The food is good and honest – hearty rather than refined, and no fun for vegetarians at all, but brilliant for us carnivores. I whet my appetite with a hot smoked salmon dressed in just the right amount of tingly horseradish cream then tucked into a Flintstones-sized pork shank on a bed of tangy sauerkraut. I enjoyed stealing GEH’s beef carpaccio, and he told me his veal was meltingly tender. You won’t need sides.
All in all, excellent value with a very buzzy atmosphere that starts from pre-theatre (Old Vic is just round the corner) and no doubt continues late in their funky bar with exciting cocktail list.
GF-Ability: 9/10 – the only thing missing was something GF when they came round with the rye bread
Two courses with a cocktail, vodka and wine was £50 pp