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BEACH GOURMET: The Tudor House: The House at Night

The Tudor House on 2nd Street at Santa Monica Boulevard has, for over 40 years, been a bastion of that most British tradition, the afternoon tea, and has evolved over time to offer breakfast and lunch, as well as purveying fine British merchandise and foodstuffs in their spacious shop. Recently however, The Tudor House has undergone considerable remodeling and is now open much, much later, adding a dinner menu that continues the British heritage, but with a modern twist.

This past weekend a guest and I paid a nocturnal visit to “The House” and discovered that Chef Brendan Dulley has created a menu that has cleverly balanced classic British flavors with dishes that incorporate some continental (that’s the European continent, by the way) touches, as well as some inspirations from the Indian sub-continent, and he has done quite a splendid job.

The menu is tidy, well balanced, and thoughtful, thankfully bereft of unnecessary fillers. With a menu consisting of appetizers, salads, main courses and puddings (English for desserts), the choices appear enticing with some mouth watering descriptions, but, I hear you ask, “What about the taste?” Well, from the dishes that we ordered, we were both very satisfied and left The House impressed with Chef Brandon’s creations.

For the appetizers we chose the Prawn and Avocado (ripe avocado topped with fresh prawns dressed in a creamy vinaigrette, $8.50) and the Mini Pasties Plate ($6.95) that gives a choice of three small pies that include beef and onion, spinach and cheese, chicken and mushroom, chicken curry, vegetable curry, and that staple of any British bakery the Cornish pastie (ground sirloin, carrots, onions, peas and potato).

I opted for the spinach and cheese, chicken curry and vegetable curry, and the pies were delicious. Wrapped in a light and fluffy puff pastry, they made for a good and robust appetizer, and would, I suspect, also satisfy as a substantial snack.

The Prawn and Avocado was delightfully presented, with 1/2 dozen tender and juicy prawns laid over slithers of avocado, and accompanied by a creamy and unique vinaigrette that would be quite at home dressing a salad. Very nice indeed.

The main choices range from good ole’ Fish & Chips (fresh cod, deep fried in homemade beer batter and served with chips and mushy peas, $14.95), Lancashire Hot Pot (tender lamb chunks slowly baked in a special gravy and vegetables, all topped with thinly sliced potatoes, $15.95) Chicken Jalfrezi (a spicy chicken curry marinated in Indian spices with sweet red peppers, onion and tomato, and served with rice, cucumber raita, and poppadom, $15.95), and a Curried Sea Bass (Chilean sea bass served with a coconut and ginger sauce, and curried potatoes, $19.95).

The latter of these was my choice, simply because it sounded so interesting and different. My partner chose from the salad section and opted for the Tossed Salad (chopped lettuce with avocado, tomato, diced cucumber, red onion, chopped fingerling potatoes, peas, and corn, tossed in a soy sesame vinaigrette, $11.95).

When our smiling Scottish server arrived bearing said dishes, the first thing that struck us was the smart presentation. The salad was generous and bright, whilst the Curried Sea Bass was picture perfect, shining like a glossy photograph from a recipe book, and tasting as good as it looked.

The fish was a robust cut, flaky and tender, that proved filling and satisfying, with a slightly crusted preparation, served with strips of onions and smashed potatoes. Add to this a light, aromatic sauce, and the dish was a wonderful taste experience.

The Tossed Salad did not disappoint either, and the dressing was flavorful with a distinct bite, courtesy of a touch of chili sauce.

We could not leave without sampling a dessert, and had the sweet satisfaction of sharing a Rhubarb Crumble (freshly cooked rhubarb baked with a traditional oat and brown sugar crumble, and served with hot custard, $5.95). Suffice to say it was the perfect finale to a very British evening.

The House offers a delightful dinner experience with an ambience that is ritzy without being pompous, charming but not antiquated, and most importantly, boasts a menu that is very 21st Century without discarding classic, traditional British influences.

Take a Tudor night out and see for yourself.

1403 2nd Street. 310.451.4107.

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