Dec 11, Amaryllis rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to have a good laugh, and read an unforgettable love story Shelves:
Do you have a drink: Well rested and alert? Good, because we have lots to get through this week. By October it had received a Michelin Plate, usually a sign that the tire-sellers consider a place marked for Great Things. The other reason we have much to discuss is that on this occasion I went out on duty in a four.
Not perfect, though — the lack of softness and the bifold doors along one side made the room more deafening than buzzy, and the fact that there was another room beyond made this one feel a little like a fine dining corridor.
The other complication was working out who would order what. Anyway, we eventually got there. And goodness knows we had plenty of time, because apart from bringing our wine — a very nice, robust Cahors which was just the wrong side of thirty pounds a bottle — we waited sauce money ghost writing a book long time, almost half an hour, before anybody came to take our order.
More disillusionment came when someone finally arrived at our table. Worse still, they had run out of double cooked chips. Would we like some boiled new potatoes instead?
The young waiter smiled blankly at her. It looked decent, but breaking it open none of us was hugely impressed — the taste was disconcertingly reminiscent of pretzels and, like pretzels, these were on the dry and chewy side, lacking in seasoning.
Our snacks arrived not long after. The scotch egg was a beast of a thing, and easily divisible between four. It looked the part, and the texture was note-perfect but seemingly at the expense of the taste: The other snack was beetroot houmous, which was topped with more beetroot and served with sourdough which was verging on cremated.
What with the burnt toast, the bland Scotch egg, the AWOL chips and the lack of grouse we all felt faintly mutinous by the time our starters arrived, so it was a relief to find that they were an improvement.
The bubbled, crisped salmon skin on top was delicious and light, and the pickled cucumber was sweet rather than sharp. It was also unquestionably the most generous of the starters: I had a mouthful and was more than slightly envious. My forkful suggested that the bresaola, hidden underneath everything else, was the star of the show but the whole thing was too bland when on paper it should have been so much more it reminded me, in fact, of the unedifying two months I spent on Tinder last year.
I had chosen the terrine, a slim slice of ham hock and foie gras which, neatly, was both clean and indulgent. Everything else on the plate went so well with it — golden, plump, sweet sultanas, pickled girolles and some kind of crumb or dust which tasted of the very best pork scratchings with the texture of the beautiful, salty powder left at the bottom of a packet.
My mother chose the only pickle-free starter, which contained plenty of unadvertised capers: Billed as a salad of tomatoes with curd, black olive caramel and tomato tea it was a pretty, artfully stacked bunch of tomatoes along with an odd pastry disc which had been added for seemingly no reason.
If you like tomatoes this might well have been the dish for you, but my mother was left baffled by it and so, to be honest, was I. By this point, I increasingly thought it unlikely that all four of us would leave completely satisfied.
My mother might have taken against the place, but I agreed that her main course was a little disappointing. Denied the grouse, she instead had the chicken. My mother left a fair bit of the chicken: This was more like it, although it did feel like a dish for the depths of winter plonked in the middle of the summer.
My stepfather is wont to order fish on a menu, when it looks interesting, and he chose the plaice with samphire, mussels and fennel.
As you can see from the picture it was a delicate thing and, although he liked it, it was a too delicate for me. There was a little blob of white — possibly the advertised sorrel butter, possibly not — but I would have liked a good beurre blanc with this, or even a beurre noisette.
I was allowed to try that, and it was so terrific that I regretted my own menu choice. It made my helping of venison feel a tad stingy, put it that way.
It came with artichoke and hasselback potatoes teeny tiny ones which, again, were never going to redeem the Great Chip Shortage Ofand some manner of green puree — pea, perhaps?
We ordered some side dishes: The sides were four pounds fifty each, and the main thing they achieved was to make me really want some chips.
In preparation for the desserts to follow, we also ordered a couple of dessert wines. The Pedro Ximenez was, as it usually is, a treacly, sugary delight. My Banyuls was less impressive, again feeling slightly thin and lacking in the complex almost-sweetness you get with the best examples.
I do admire a place confident enough to give you good helpings of a few cheeses — a lot of a little rather, than a little of a lot.Dorrance Publishing Services For nearly years, authors have trusted Dorrance to write, publish and promote their books!
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