Tasting Menu at Merchants Tavern's Kitchen Counter

* Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest. All opinions are my own.

Merchants Tavern is a wonderful restaurant and bar near Old Street with a great vibe. A while ago I had the pleasure of meeting some of the staff and giving a quick smartphone food photography workshop. Last week, I was back for the tasting menu at the Kitchen Counter by chef Neil Borthwick.

The evening started as all good ones do: excellent cocktails with excellent company!

Neil Borthwick presented us with a stunner of a tasting menu, sat at the Kitchen Counter so we could watch the magic as it happened.

Bream sashimi and unbelievably flavourful deep-fried oysters, paired with NV Maison Gaston Chiquet 1er Cru champagne.

Artichoke with roasted tropea onion, paired with a glass of Manzanilla Papirusa sherry.

Probably my favourite dish of the night – braised fennel with apricot chutney, paired with the 2013 Verdicchio dei Castelli "Vigna delle Oche".

Heritage tomatoes with sunflower seed pesto and chilli jam, which added the perfect kick.

Crab and scallop tortello with lemongrass emulsion, paired with a glass of 2012 Malvasia Bianca by Birichino – easily the nicest white wine I've ever tried.

Beef eye rib with Scottish giroles, beans, wet garlic and horseradish – and a glass of 2007 Domaine Henri Milan Le Vallon.

Lemon sorbet and vodka followed by a heavenly slice of Tahitian vanilla tart with toasted almonds, paired with a 2013 Domaine les Enfants Sauvages Muscat.

Thank you Neil and team for an amazing experience.