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Club Gascon review


Restaurants & Bars 4

Club Gascon review

Winot | Feb 12, 2002 07:38 AM

The first time we went to Club Gascon (about 3 years ago) was a bit underwhelming -- we ordered badly (despite taking the advice of the waiter) and were overcome by the richness (of the food and the clientele).

Our return last Friday was much more successful. We all went for the tasting menu, which is 5 courses for GBP 30 and an additional GBP 20 if you want a matched glass of wine with each course. We all did.

I'm afraid I haven't yet acquired the habit of taking notes, so my recollection of the detail is a bit hazy, but I'll see what I can do:

Pre-restaurant: two pints of Harvest ale at the Bishop's Finger, West Smithfield. An unusual winter ale from Shepherd Neame in that it's hoppy rather than malty and therefore not sweet and cloying as some winter ales can be. A fine toasty start to the evening.

Amuse bouche: "lentil creme" - a rich lentil soup served with a cappucino head in a tall thin shot glass. Rich and nutty (chestnut taste?) - suggestion later that it may have Spanish roots.

Aperitif: A glass of banyuls - first time I've had it - was expecting something closer to pedro ximenez but more like Rivesaltes (another Pyrennes sweetie). Like a light port.

Course 1: A fricassee of mussels, scallops and parma ham. Wonderfully fresh with smoky overtones. Got the tastebuds tingling.

Wine 1: A non-sparkling Limoux. Good match - didn't overwhelm the food. Can't remember much more - guess the Harvest must have kicked in about then.

Course 2: A almost molten foie gras wrapped in a layer of cold pommes puree of staggering intensity. Between this poultice and the pate was interposed a crunchy smattering of pepper and cinnamon. Lots of other things there too on the edge of the tastebuds. Some veg -- perhaps an artichoke? -- but that's missing the point. A memorable dish.

Wine 2: A montbazillac (sp.?). Good but not enough depth to carry the foie gras. Probably needed a sauternes, but then for GBP 4 a glass...

Course 3: A dip here. Two generous hunks of poached plaice with a complex sauce (completely forgotten what it was) which was tasty but didn't do much to enliven the fish. I'm not a fan of subtle white fish at the best of times (my tastebuds need more oomph) and this lived down to my expectations.

Wine 3: A great frizzante viognier (not Condrieu) which made up for the fish.

Course 4: Back on form - magret of goose with caramelised apples and the best beetroot ever served on a slab of slate. And a chive on top. There's your veg then. Good job we all went for medium rare, judging correctly that would be French medium rare -- any rarer and it would have been flying round the room.

Wine 4: Oh dear. A nice smooth red. The food was a bit distracting to be honest. Maybe a Bergerac?

Course 5: Into the home straight now with a light-as-you-like cupcake with embedded marinated cherries.

Wine 5: A 1920 cherry brandy served in the same shot glasses as the amuse bouches (hope they washed them thoroughly).

And then coffee, a wise decision not to order a bottle of Cahors, and a cab to a secret Russian bar in Shoreditch for a nightcap. And so to bed.

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