We went to the pre-launch of the renovated Crib de Rib to check out what they had done.
Got a warm welcome from Jean-Claude (Maitre d’) and Paolo (General Manager). Also, enthusiastic Jean-Claude took us on a quick tour of the renovated venue as he was particularly keen on showing us how they had transformed the private dining room with its beautiful ceiling centrepiece, metal work and chandelier, and the other additions of artistic touches adorning the walls. A great, private place to host a diner party or drinks and canapes reception.
The two identical chandeliers, one over the entrance foyer and staircase to the lower level and the other in the private dining room, provide a great fluid link between one part of the restaurant and the other drawing you in to investigate the private space.
We settled down at our table to peruse the menu whilst Bar Manager and resident mixologist Bastien Dupuy created beautiful cocktails.
We started with a Crab Tian (£8.50), beautifully layered with avocado, artichokes and beetroot, which had a sweet and light freshness from the crab; as well as a Charcoal Herb Squid, on the personal recommendation of Jean-Claude, which had a flavourful bois Boudran sauce (made with shallots, tarragon, chives and white wine vinegar) but was slightly disappointing in that it had only three small slices of squid with big piles of dressed rocket decorating the plate. A pleasant dish to experience but I was expecting more squid for a starter, especially after the enthusiasm about the dish from Jean-Claude.
We decided to sample one of their signature ribs and also one of their popular fish dishes recommended by Jean-Claude.
The soft, succulent pork ribs (£14.50) came with a tiny dish of crisp apple and carrot coleslaw but had a slightly too sweet generic recipe BBQ sauce for our liking. It possibly could have done with some more spicing in the sauce to help balance out the sweet elements which would have also complemented the natural sweetness from the pork.
The spicy sea bass was beautifully presented, all fanned out and was an array of colours with the three spicy chillies, salsa, and garlic and herb sauces; which all complemented the perfectly cooked sweet flavour profile of this fish. Also, the sea bass had a fab crisp skin which added a great texture element to the dish. A harmony made in heaven!
We rounded off our meal with a Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, which had a lovely strawberry coulis, but was slightly too sweet for our tastes. It could have probably done with either sour or tart notes to balance the sweetness from the cheesecake, such as fresh raspberries or a dollop of creme fraiche.
Shame though that the Panna Cotta was not ready (not available for another 50mins from when we ordered our desserts) as we had set our hearts on trying this.
We had pleasant service throughout the evening but our table was in a slightly awkward spot between the bar and the door so there were constant waiters brushing past, carrying huge platters and cold blasts from the door whenever it opened. They re-open on the 12th September, 2014.