We went for a special London Restaurant Festival event. Full disclosure David Gandy was present, which may or may not influence this review!
We started things off with cocktails at the bar. We got chatting to Monica, one of the bartenders, and Gareth, Group Bar Manager, and she talked to us about her inspiration for the cocktail list. We loved the Pisco and the Professor cocktail, pisco, fino sherry, lime and flat leaf parsley, inspired by Monica’s travels in Peru. J also adored his Plum Japonaise, vodka, umeshu, lemo, cedarwood and bitters. The cocktail list changes regularly and we are very tempted to come back and work our way through more of Monica’s creations!
The appetizer was yellowfin tuna tataki with cucumber salad and avocado and ponzu dressing. Ponzu is Japanese citrus based sauce (yes I googled for you!) and the appetizer was lovely, light and refreshing. Just what you want when you know heavier course are around the corner.
Starter were quail, broad bean, pancetta and sauce diable. The quail was cooked to perfection and this felt like summer on a plate.
Next course was rack of Romney Marsh lamb with braised shoulder shepherd’s pie. It felt like we’d moved from summer to winter, the shepherd’s pie was hearty and indulgent, I don’t even want to think about how much butter probably went into the mash but it tasted divine. The lamb chops were ruby pink and delicious, but the fat was flabby and chewy. I think either crisp the fat or remove it, my preference would always be to crisp it, fat=flavour. Sadly, I had to leave mine on the plate as it was inedible.
Finally dessert, white chocolate mousse with salted caramel and shards of caramel hazelnuts. I have to say I don’t really like the trend towards salty/ bitter desserts, for me those flavours can be present but they need be balanced with sweetness, otherwise what’s the point? You might as well have another plate of savoury! I was surprised by this dessert because in the past I’ve found white chocolate to be sickly sweet, but here I think they were so intent on keeping that in check that the balance went the other way and it just wasn’t much fun to eat.
I much preferred the petit fours which were fun, playful and more crucially sweet! Rapsberry and almond financiers, and yuzu and blackberry mini cones dipped in white chocolate were delicate little mouthfuls with which to finish.
Just a quick mention about service, we were tucked behind a little corner and we felt a bit forgotten about. On a couple of occasions we asked for more bread or water and it either never came or arrived very much later. However as I mentioned David Gandy was present and it was a full house, so maybe service was not representative of what it normally is.
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