FEGO REVIEW

BREAKING THE RULES
FEGO IN SEVENOAKS ARE SERVING UP SOMETHING DIFFERENT, AS CHARLIE BOND DISCOVERS WHEN SHE VISITS THE NEW EATERY…

“We don’t believe in rules.” That’s the ethos of Sevenoaks’ newest restaurant, Fego. The eighth (and largest) eatery in the group, the establishment is set to shake up the way we think about our meals – in fact, it’s actively encouraged to have pancakes for dinner and steak for breakfast.

When we visit it’s only been open a matter of weeks, but already seems to have a captive audience. Some guests sit out on the patio to enjoy a drink in the summer sun, big family groups celebrating occasions sit around enjoying platefuls of food, friends catch up…there’s certainly a buzz around Fego, and judging by the contended look on each person’s face, nobody regrets their decision to visit.

This is the type of restaurant that wouldn’t look out of place in a cool London suburb – the stylish interior, chilled atmosphere and healthy, yet tasty food makes it both a foodie destination and an instagrammer’s dream.

We’re shown to our table – right by the doors to the outside patio, so we can enjoy the sunny evening without getting chilly, and presented with the dinner menu. We order our drinks – the Hill & Dale Sauvignon Blanc (£7.50 for 250ml) and a glass of the Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin Blanc (£7.75 for 250ml) which are both crisp, fruity and perfect for the summer, and set about deciding what to have to eat.

I sometimes feel vegetarians get a raw deal when dining out. How often does the menu only proffer a goats cheese tart or risotto to appease the veggie among the group? Not Fego – their meat-free offerings are plentiful, from egg-fi lled brunches to vegetable curries. And, no limp pastry in sight.

As it’s a warm evening, and I’m sipping on white wine in the sun, I’m drawn to items I’d order on holiday – the grilled baby aubergine to start (£4.75) and the baked salmon to follow (£8.95), while my guest opts for the burnt aubergine (£5.25) and the vegetable curry (£11.50).

While we wait for our first course to arrive, we muse over the eclectic décor surrounding us – it’s like something straight out of a Pinterest inspiration board – a stylish mix of Mediterranean, industrial and Scandi-chic, with quirky pottery adorning the wire shelves, bright cushions on the long bench seats and patterned tiles lining the terracotta steps.

Our starters arrive and we eagerly tuck in. My guest’s aubergine is served like a dip in a bowl with strips of focaccia, while my grilled aubergine comes beautifully presented on a plate sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and drizzled with tahini, chimichurri and pomegranate seeds. My guest admits she’s not usually a fan of aubergine – but these she’s enjoying. My grilled aubergines melt in the mouth, and the flavours from the chimichurri and tahini, while subtle really elevate the vegetable.

The ambience in Fego feels very relaxed – there’s no pressure, and when we do eventually finish every last mouthful of our starters, there’s a decent amount of time before the next course arrives. When it does, however, I realise I’ve made an error. My salmon is beautifully presented atop a bed of kale, and served with roasted sweet potato – but, the menu didn’t specify that the dish came with any extras, so, before me is now my (quite generous) plate of salmon and extras, as well as two sizeable side dishes (coincidentally, a kale salad and more roasted sweet potatoes – I’m nothing if not predictable). I ponder for a moment on whether I can consume everything in one go, before my guest suggests that perhaps I could take the leftovers home for tomorrow’s lunch.

Crisis averted, I begin to tuck into my salmon, and it’s delicious – fresh tasting, complemented the kale, and the sweet potatoes are roasted to perfection. My guest is equally as enthusiastic about her curry choice, which is lightly spiced and full of flavour. The food feels wholesome, like good home cooking. Not like anything I could cook, mind you, but it’s fresh, filling and healthy, with generous portions. I begin to wish I lived in Sevenoaks so I could eat here every day and not have to worry about cooking ever again (I’m sure the husband wouldn’t complain).

Main courses finished, and side dishes boxed up for tomorrow’s lunch, we take a look at the dessert menu. There are so many mouth-watering options, from hot cookie dough with salted caramel ice cream, to a fruit plate, but we’re just too full to contemplate anything other than a fresh mint tea. Even gentle encouragement from the staff can’t sway us – but we vow to return very soon. Maybe tomorrow to try everything on the dessert menu. After all, if Fego doesn’t believe in rules, then neither do we…

FEGO Blighs Meadow Pembroke Road Sevenoaks 01732 464 640 www.hellofego.com