An exceptionally smooth and creamy taramasalata (or their interpretation thereof), contrasting with raw radishes -- sharp cool and crisp. Pleasant but not exceptional bun with a good crust and moderately dense and cushiony interior. Great vehicle for the butter they churn themselves from Jersey cream -- it still bears a strong resemblance to whipped cream in density and lightness, the flavour rich and full, with a good tone of salt.
Their signature pig's trotters is essentially the same as the one I had a while ago -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7051... except perhaps with slight differences in the presentation. The crackling is as fantastic and dramatically delicious as ever -- crunchy with decisive snaps and pops in every bite, and beautifully porky.
Gorgeously textured grouse, firm, meaty, slightly earthy, with an even metallic gamey quality. Good knifework, carving the flesh and tendon from a section of the legs, while leaving the feathers intact for about an inch from the claws and a good morsel of the bird at the end -- a meaty lollipop with the feathered claws just right for picking up with fingers. Outstanding mashed potatoes - one can taste the potato above the background of milkiness and butter - impeccable texture, smooth and nicely sticky without descending into gumminess, very fine grains at at the most. A foresty load of girolles, sweet vegetal leeks, crunchy sandy aromatic breadcrumbs, all coming together to balance the gamey grouse.
One of the best wines by the glass I've had in a long time -- a '95 Vosne Romanee (Jean Tardy iirc; looked it up on their site). Multi-layered bouquet of fruit and dark flowers and a hint of wood, vanilla and spice. Light and supple, but with a sustained and lasting flavour, perhaps some cherry in the continuum of red fruit. Extremely well balanced, the kind of poise that make burgundies so desirable. Perfect with game bird. Excellent price on the wine 175ml for £21, reflecting very little markup. From the chef's cellar section of the wine list, where they only add £20 to the acquisition costs of a bottle as "corkage" instead of adding several multiples of the price.
Finally, a cherry souffle, rising a good inch above the rim of the ramekin, fruit against the nut of pistacchio ice cream (light, milky and obviously nutty). A sweet (Australian?) Riesling went well here, adding perhaps a bit of pineapple, its sweetness on par with the dessert.
Delicious food that is well edited and balanced, ingredients that speak for themselves, great understated technique without bombastic showiness. One of my favourite restaurants in London.
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