I haven’t been this excited about a fancy restaurant for 20 years! (It was the Auberge de L’Ill) After too many expensive disappointments, I have tended to avoid the latest fashion in restaurants and also promised myself that I would never order another tasting menu, I like food too much. In the not too distant past, I have spent money at Ramsay in Chelsea and it was good but not great, (it was never good value and I never think how much I enjoyed anything), Galvin at Windows tasting menu with wine flights was largely spent waiting for a window table and then spent praying for an interminable meal to end; there was very little to shout about, apart from a tired glass of Dom Perignon (the entertainment was provided by an assistant-sommelier who explained that he was a Muslim and so did not have that much experience of wine because while he did not think his God would mind if he drank a little he did not think he should let his ears back) and Chez Bruce which was also good but tried too hard and my strongest memory is of lectures about the cheese and the wine.
Normally, I eat at St John but just a short way up the street is a restaurant that could not be more different.
I have eaten at the Bistro a few times and always enjoyed it and ate at the restaurant shortly after it opened. Then it was good but not great.
Lunch last week was a revelation - the tasting menu, with white truffles, at 210 GBP with coffee but without wine.
Three amuse bouche: wafers of terrine of foie gras on wafers of toast, game terrine with tarragon oil, prawn in lime. All tiny but very full flavoured, precise and just perfect.
Pumpkin soup with a pasta cushion and a hint of truffle.
Fried foie gras with boudin blanc and buttery leeks.
A pill-box of set egg white, drizzled in jus, served with copious quantities of white truffle grated at the table by the chef andt finally stabbed to release a warm and runny egg yolk.
Venison fillet on red cabbage with a streak of chocolate sauce
Basil sorbet served on a rather large ice cube.
A fun interpretation of toffee apple: a wafer thin, rather large, crisp red ‘toffee’ balloon, sharp apple sorbet, crunchy chocolate biscuit pieces and cream.
And a tiny yoghourt.
Coffee and petit fours.
This was not just good, it was great. A great meal and a great experience. If you are going to spend way too much on lunch, here is the place to do it. It was fun, it was delicious; everything was presented beautifully and tasted, sublimely, of what it was. The staff were correct but not stuffy. The most exciting meal in 20 years is now on my doorstep, with or without truffle, I shall be back.