In an uncharacteristically cool fashion I managed to get a reservation for the opening night of Jason Atherton's new place on Pollen Street last night.
It's a very clever menu that lets you do a la carte, or design your own tasting menu or just select a whole host of plates. Sharing is very much encouraged and 'London's first dessert bar' breaks up the meal and allows you to not only watch the pastry chefs but also look directly into Atherton's kitchen.
Tomato and Tomato was a light fresh salad of yellow, red, green tomatoes, an intense tomato gazpacho-like sauce and herbs with an incredible tomato sorbet. Still lacked a little something, it was advertised with vanilla but I didn't really pick that up.
The cured salmon was extraordinary with the texture of smoked salmon but with salmon skin jelly on top and a herring roe cream.
The Full English Breakfast won't surprise anyone who tasted Atherton's famous BLT. It is a deconstruction with tomato and mushroom purees, a 90-minute poached egg, bacon and a white bread foam. Wonderful dish.
Red gambas, seaweed tea consommé, dumplings & ginger sounded extremely exciting but was in the event a bit of a letdown. Two prawns meant it was done in a second and the theatre of the consomme dripping through the basket to the excellent dumplings didn't really make up for it. I think I was disappointed as the description was so good.
Two meat dishes, Pork Belly and cheek and Ox tongue n cheek (geddit) were both sensational, so rich and the cheeks were wonderfully tender with the lightest crackling I've ever tasted - the consistency of a soft prawn cracker. Hard to imagine how these could have been better.
A radish salad that accompanied the meats was disappointing although it had samphire, which I love, which rescued it.
For desserts there is a trio of mini desserts that isn't on the menu which you can request. It includes a 'ham, cheese and herbs' which is actually watermelon, candied goat’s curd and basil sorbet. This was brilliant and classic Atherton - so clever but yet so tasty. The tiramasu, PBJ (Parfait, cherry jam, creamed rice puffs, Sangria mousse, blood orange granita, curd milk jam) and a rhubarb and ginger vanilla cheesecake were all very good as well.
On the night of the 50 best restaurants - and I'm sure fellow CHs will appreciate this - we were slightly starstruck to see Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz and Daniel Boulud wander past us and into the kitchen.
We didn't hold back - two cocktails, one bottle and two glasses of wine, dessert wine, 7 courses to share, a trio of desserts, an ALC dessert and coffee. Total bill was £230 but we could have cut that down by £100 if we'd been being careful.
In conclusion this place is superb, if you liked Maze under Atherton you will love this. There are hits and misses but it is without doubt a hugely exciting opening and I can't recommend it enough.
This may sound like a puff piece and I am unashamedly an Atherton fanboy as Maze was the first real eye-opening restaurant I went to, but objectively PSS is every so slightly hit and miss but very very good.
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