Archive for mars 2009

Chateau Les Crayeres, Reims

mars 25, 2009

After a long journey through a white, cold and unwelcoming Ardennes region, I finally got to Reims. The hotel and restaurant Chateau Les Crayeres both are a French legend. For many years Gerard Boyer maintained 3* level and fascinated countless clients from all over the world with his cooking. Since a few years, a Monegasque, Ducasse-taught chef has taken over the gastronomic side of the business: Didier Elena. He originally wanted to study medicine but a meeting with Ducasse made him change his mind. After some time at the Louis XV in Monte-Carlo, he was the first head chef of Ducassse’s New York restaurant. There, he won 3 Michelin stars and 4 from the New York Times, but couldn’t satisfy the New Yorkers’ desires. Now he is « free » to cook whatever he likes and does so in a unique house.

Le chateau

Le chateau

The two rooms are comfortable, you feel a l’aise from the first few steps you take in them. The big windows give sufficient light, the chairs are most comfortable and you quite simply feel very well there. It doesn’t feel as austere or cold as for instance Ledoyen or other old-school grand restaurants do.

La salle

La salle

After having chosen your obligatory champagne from a very interesting selection by the glass, you are approached with an Alsatian treat: Flammekuechle. I do not know why they serve it in Reims, but it certainly tastes very good and accompanies the wine perfectly. Excellent start.

 

Flammekuechle

Flammekuechle

 

 

The mise en bouche consisted of a maquereau juste saisi, pamplemousse sucre, sale, acide, amere. This was one of  the more daring combinations of the meal, but it worked marvelously well. The mackerel was covered with balsamic vinegar and sat atop of a few thin slivers of marinated navets, on the fillet sat a few segments of grapefruit which gave the whole dish a very complete taste sensation: Salty, sour, sweet, bitter, peppery, everything was present. Excellent once more.

 

maquereau

maquereau

 FOIE GRAS DE CANARD-JAMBON DE REIMS: en terrine, fine gelee au Champagne, brioche tiede. I love it when chefs serve you regional products in a way that gives you great pleasure. Here this was the case with the (cooked) ham, layered in between the foie gras.  The terrine itself was very good, albeit a touch under-seasoned for my taste. The only problem in this dish was the other regional element: the Champagne. Now, Champagne is my favourite drink, but this association did not work at all. It was utterly tasteless and too sour. It took away all of the rich taste from the terrine and, if one combined both elements, the only present taste was the sour gelee. I rarely leave anything on a plate, but I simply couldn’t finish this gelee and stuck to the very good foie/ham terrine. Before I forget, the brioche, filled with pruneau marmalade was terrific. It was light, buttery, comforting. If one would have left the gelee out of the game, this would have been very good, due to it, I can only say that it was a rather mediocre dish.

 

Foie Gras

Foie Gras

 

 

brioche avec foie

brioche avec foie

 The following dish played a completely different register. LE PRINTEMPS: asperges, pomme de terre de Noirmoutier, morilles et lard d’Ibaiona cuisines ensemble. If there is a divine combination asparagus and morels are definitely competing for the first price. To this, add a nice helping of crazily tasty pork belly from the basque country, some slowly confied potatoes and a hearty pork jus and you have a rich and taste-intesive dish. The portion was gigantic (a starter after all), but being that good, you simply can’t let any drop of jus on the plate. However, a few things have me question this dish:The double use of potatoes (pureed and confied) did annoy me a little, as it fills you up very quickly. The other one is the fact, that morels aren’t at their best yet, so they did lack a little flavour (or were overpowered by the jus). Nonetheless, this was well made, rustic French cooking. Very good.

 

Asperges, morilles

Asperges, morilles

 The first main course was a SAUMON SAUVAGE: enrobe de truffes noires et cebettes, quelques champignons blancs, releve de gingembre. This was back on the level of the amuses, bread and other extras. Perfeclty cooked, aromatic wild salmon with a rich button mushroom puree, some croutons to give it some crunch and of course black truffle and chives. The truffles, as is often the case, did not really add much to the dish, but the dish didn’t really need them. This salmon might have been worth the trip by itself. I would never have ordered it, so I am happy that Elena served it to me as such a product does have to be tasted. Here again, Elena did not salt as liberally as his friend Jean Francois Piege  or former boss Cerutti do, but rather let the salmon stand out in all of it’s grandeur. The mushroom puree provided the missing power and both eaten together with a crouton provided a memorable mouth-full. Excellent.

 

Saumon

Saumon

The following dish might still have been a little better. CAILLE SPECIALE: au foie gras, quelques mures ecrasees, gnocchi de ricotta. Quails are normally quite small in size and I can’t remember any memorable quail dish. Here however, the bird was raised in the same way as an ortolan, which means, that the quail was engraissee to make it even more tasty and tender. The result was indeed remarkable: Amazingly tender meat, juicy, tasty and in perfect harmony with the other parts of the dish. Not that there were that many other parts, but all of those complemented the quail extraordinarily well. The ricotta gnoccho, a favourite of Franck Cerutti in Monte-Carlo, the blackberry sauce and the quail-jus just blew you away. Here the school of the Louis XV showed it’s best side: Amazing products, treated by technical perfectionists and served with a simple accompaniment. Such an extraordinary product is a rare pleasure and really makes you want more. Outstanding.

 

Caille

Caille

Now to finish such a meal, I decided that two desserts should do me fine. I can’t complain that Elena chose the wrong ones, as both were very good.

The first was POMMES DE NOS REGIONS: en superposition, beurre « Suzette ». A « basket » of Vanilla ice cream contained different apple preparations and was topped by a thin sugar case and later drowned in orange caramel butter. If one took a bit of everything, it was pure pleasure: Slightly acidic, refreshing orange sauce, crispy sugar casing, crunchy, sour green apple sticks, creamy, sweet ice cream; delicious!

 

Pommes

Pommes

The second was a take on the famous Schwarzwaldtorte. All of the essential components of the cake, namely chocolate, cherries and whipped cream, were present in one form or another. There was some chocolate biscuit, chocolate casing, a vanilla whipped cream, cherry sorbet and a few amaren-macerated cherries, and a cherry gelee. All in all, it was a very potent conclusion for a very good meal. Very good to excellent.

 

Foret Noire

Foret Noire

But the joyride was far from over. Part of my coming was the chariot des mignardises a cart full of all the sweet bites that just make you want more. I chose to get a few that I always enjoy: Paris-Brest (divine!), tarte au chocolat (very good), cannele (to die for!) and an apple/caramel glass. All of these proved, once more, how able Sebastian Leproux, Elena’s patissier, is. They were all classical French patisseries but the cannele for instance was better than all I had in Bordeaux and the Paris-Brest was equally successful.

 

mignardises

mignardises

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To really finish the experience, coffee is served in the adjacent salon. The coffee is definitely one of the better ones around and worth every cent. 

What can one say in conclusion?

First of all, the whole building is phenomenal. It is this aristocratic decor, without the coldness, that might annoy some. Also, the service throughout was excellent and gave one the feeling that the house is really generous. They just make you fell well during your meal.

Now to Elena’s cooking. After having read his book, I had high expectations. These were partially let-down, as the presentation was not always as graphical or as  neat as I had hoped for. Also, some of the elements in certain dishes did lack a little salt. A third point is this frightening Champagne jelly, which I did not like at all.

On the other hand, the quail, mackerel and salmon all showed what amazing products he uses, and how he can transform them into amazing dishes. These were all memorable and worth the journey. The bread, petit-fours, desserts and Flammekuechle all did attain that high level, showing how capable they are once more. This being said, the 2* are very accurate as a description, as some of the dishes are spot-on, but others do have some odd element here and there. 

I would say that it is worth going to when in Reims, as the whole experience is quite memorable, but maybe not worth a trip on it’s own.

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester-II, London

mars 17, 2009

I had another very good lunch here today. 

As the weather was a little more friendly today, the sun shone through the large (but dirty) windows, which illuminated the room beautifully. Service was pretty much perfect as usual. 

Amuse was a royale of broccoli with a few raw vegetables, and a olive sauce. Very well made, tasty little amuse, that sets the palate up nicely. Very good.

This was followed by a dish that quite simply blew me away: Scallops with Jerusalem Artichokes, Endives and Black Truffles. Now scallops can be good. They can be very good even, if they’re fresh and treated with enough respect. These on the other hand, were simply amazing. Huge pieces, cooked perfectly with the intensive truffled jus, the slightly sweet Jerusalem Artichoke and the very discrete bitterness of the Endive/Truffle poelee. I simply haven’t come across such an accomplished dish in quite a while. Everything was right here. You simply could not find anything wrong with this dish. The Truffles were very strong taste-wise and the whole was just very harmonious and sooooooooo pleasing to eat. Truly divine.

Main was a Braised Halibut with a Vin Jaune sauce, Shrimps and blettes. The tastes here were again very strong, perfectly balanced and very comforting to eat. The shrimps were quite simply delicious (slightly crunchy texture). The only problem I had was that the Halibut, due to the fact that the very tasty Shrimp/Nut crust was gratinated on top of it, was slightly dry on the edges. Now, for some this might have still been ok, but I found that it was slightly over-cooked. Apart from that it had lovely frim flesh and was very well seasoned. In general this is another very mature, tasty, gratifying dish to eat. Even if the fish was a little over-cooked, I would say it was very good, excellent if the fish were cooked to perfection.

The dessert was interesting. Having been to Monte Carlo (Le Louis XV) twice during the last 2 years, I tried to of their signature desserts, the Louis XV au croustilant praline and the glace au lait entier et a la fleur de sel. Both of these are amongst the best desserts I’ve encountered on my travels across Europe and are worth the trip to the Riviera on themselves. What Herland did in his version of the Louis XV is give it a much more beautiful presentation and adding the Milk/Salt ice cream a part. This was as perfect as the Scallop dish, simply unbeatable, even if the combination of both isn’t necessarily needed (I don’t complain though, as this ice cream is about as good as it gets). Amazing.

A few words about coffee and petit-fours: They are both of top-quality. The macarons are the best I’ve found in London (correct me if I’m wrong), the chocolates too, are very well made and tasty. 

In conclusion I can only say, that this is a very good restaurant indeed. After some starting problems Herland seems to find his way. Even if not every dish is on the level of these Scallops, the bar is slowly but steadily raised. If I had to look for one restaurant that could deserve three stars pretty soon I would point to this one. It just represents all you want from a 3*: Great food, very good service, luxurious room. 

The only thing Herland could maybe stop doing is doing dishes they do in Paris or Monte Carlo in a more elaborate version. This just doesn’t do him justice, as he definitely is one of the very best chefs in London, one who has the ability to produce perfectly executed, very mature dishes, who might be classical, but in the best sense of the word.

Sketch-Lecture Room & Library, London

mars 13, 2009

Ever since I came to London last October, Sketch’s Parlour has been one of the places I really enjoy spending time in. Their patisserie is easily the best in London, the service always impeccable and the atmosphere relaxed. Also, this house, which once belonged to Christian Dior, features some of the most amazing design in Europe, as far as I can tell. The whole concept of it, being a Sketch, in constant evolution is one, that makes new twists appear here and there regularly. 

 

Room

Room

 

 

Having found out that Pierre Gagnaire, who supervises the kitchen, was in town, all good sense was lost and I just simply had to go. It was the first time I had a meal at one of Gagnaire’s restaurants and I must say, that his cooking is most interesting.

The experience is an outer-worldly one. The whole space is just like no other restaurant in that it is surreal, crazy, warm and so over the top, that you just enjoy it.

The meal started with a selection of canapes: Truffle croquettes, cumin crackers with Tuna cream, blood-orange juice, colombo meringue and Japanese vodka jelly. Of these the croquettes, Tuna cream and colombo meringue were amazing. The blood-orange juice and vodka jelly were more or less tasteless, or not strong enough. A very pleasant way to start a meal.

 

canapes

canapes

After this came four little starters. The first one being Chicory and Roquefort Veloute with Torrefied Nuts/ Braised Turnip in Cider/ Duck Breast/ Strasbourg Sausage. What could look like a random association was in fact a very well constructed plate. The slight bitterness of the Chicory is countered by the slight sweetness of the Turnips and the richness of the veloute. The textural component of Gagnaire’s kitchen becomes clear as well: The meltingly tender duck, the creamy veloute, smooth Roquefort encased in the torrefied, crunchy nuts makes this a feast for all of the senses.

 

Veloute

Veloute

The second part of this tasting was Kimichi Stew of Tofu, Bok Choy and Nashi Pear/ Ginger & Sesame Seeds/ Langoustine Broth. This dish continued on the same idea as the last one, as every texture from creamy (Tofu), crunchy (Bok Choy), smooth (Broth) to al dente (Pear) was covered. Tastewise this was another masterpiece with the strong veloute playing the role of the soloist. The Tofu deserves to be mentioned as it was easily the best I came across for quite a while. Very good again.

 

Broth

Broth

A third little plate containing a Sauerkraut Custard/ Shiitake Mushrooms and Chervil/ Marinated Sweet and Sour Shimeji Mushrooms with Coriander arrived and created a happy fusion of the Germanic Sauerkraut and the other Asian elements. This was, once more, a very good dish. Only problem: The custard was too cold, to develop it’s full power. Very good again.

 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

The last part was Red Cabbage, Beetroot and Redcurrant Jelly/ White Beetroot, Red Radish and Chive Salad. I must say that I’m no big friend of jellied elements, especially if they constitute the majority of a dish. Here I can’t say that  I hated the dish, but it wasn’t the most amazing one of the dinner. The flavours were again very present and perfectly balanced.

 

Jelly

Jelly

After this came Roast Breast of Pigeon and Pigeon Mousseline with Sarawak Pepper / 

Radicchio Salad and Medjool Date Leaves / Winter Vegetable Curry . Here again, the dish was delivered in a few individual plates. The main one containing a few strips of perfectly cooked, pigeon breast, a very strong pigeon mousseline and a jus, that was just amazing. This was the essence of the Pigeon’s taste, strong, slightly gamey and intensive. Very good.

 

 

Pigeon

Pigeon

 

Aside the main dish was brought a very fragrant curry of different zucchini types. Very pleasant, if not necessarily close to the other dish.

 

curry

curry

After the intensive gamey pigeon, a refreshing Nashi Pear ice cream provided a very welcome refreshment.

 

 

Pear with Pigeon

Pear with Pigeon

 

Roast Scallops / Sea Urchin Velouté with Puy Lentils / Scallop Carpaccio and Crunchy Red Radish / Organic Salmon Roe. Now, those who read some of the other articles I wrote will have remarked that I can’t understand the British habit of cutting nice big scallops into thousands of little pieces before serving them. Seeing that both chefs (Gagnaire and Pascal Sanchez) are French, they know that a big scallop is best cooked whole. In this case, the perfectly cooked scallop was accompanied by some earthy lentils and a sea urchin sauce. The latter could have been slightly more reduced or thicker. Apart from that, this was another very fine dish.

 

Scallop

Scallop

 

The second part of the dish was a carpaccio covered with some sweet and sour radish. The sauce was similar to Passard’s lobster sauce on his famous homard a l’aigre-doux. Top quality scallop with the crunch of the radishes and the distinct texture of the salmon roe. Perfect.

 

 

Scallop carpaccio

Scallop carpaccio

 

 

 

The main course was another more simple course: Slow Cooked Chicken Breast/ Parmesan and Grappa Sauce/ Onion Fondue/ Agria Potato and Rocket Mousseline. I usually am no big fan of relatively bland chicken, but here it was quite another story. The chicken was nearly as tasty as a Bresse chicken, with a slightly more tender flesh. This was a perfectly cooked piece of poultry. It’s accompaniments were very good too, but in combination it was on the salty side. Still it was one of those dishes that showed Gagnaire’s spontaneous character. When he described his kitchen as one that is full of emotion but where one might say that it needs a pinch of salt or so, he gave the best description of it. I would say that despite this being over-salted, the dish still transmitted this little emotion (I can’t believe I’d ever write such a thing). The potato mousseline was perfect. Much lighter than other purees, the rocket giving it some colour and freshness.

 

Chicken

Chicken

 

rocket mousseline

rocket mousseline

After these few courses and a huge amount of bread (perfect) with the lovely Bordier butter I was starting to feel the limit of my belly’s capacity coming closer. The Grand Dessert, served in 5 different preparations, as opposed to the 9 he serves in Paris, made me forget all of this. The first three citrus-fruit desserts were among the finest you can imagine. Despite their minuscule portions, they had the perfect balance between the sourness, sweetness and slight bitterness of the different varieties used. These were simply perfect.

 

Citrus fruit

Citrus fruit

The following blackcurrant variation was equally amazing. Various different structures of these berries formed another slightly acidic, refreshing dessert. Excellent.

 

cassis

cassis

The last part was a very intensive chocolate cake. Whilst having great depth of flavour, it could have done with an airy mousse instead of the overpoweringly thick layer of ganache and the not so airy top cremeux. This was the less successful of all, but still good.

 

 

Chocolate

Chocolate

 

 

After such a feast one needs a good coffee and some petit-fours to finish it off in the appropriate way. Here both coffee, and petit-fours, were perfect. The little nod to the UK’s culinary heritage was a reworked After Eight, which was much more enjoyable than the original.  Amongst the others the meringue stood out. All in all a very enjoyable ending to a great meal.

 

 

Petit-fours

Petit-fours

 

Despite the fact that I had heard mixed reviews of both Sketch and Rue Balzac, I was very happy with this meal. It was simply a most inspiring, interesting, if not perfect meal. I, who usually likes the perfection that reigns at other French haute cuisine restaurants, really enjoyed the emotional, spontaneous side of the cooking here. I love this concept of having little a part dishes to complement the main ingredients. This way you discover such a wide range of tastes, textures, ideas and pairings that wouldn’t be possible any other way. What more can you say? Service was very good, showing just the right amount of attention, the meal was great and the whole experience is just so different from other London restaurants (who tend to be slightly boring). Both Gagnaire and Mazouz were lovely people, who confirmed the spirit behind the house: the open-mindedness, the wish to let their guests experience new sensations and the simple rigour and passion that made them into the great restaurateurs they are.

I only want to go back as soon as possible, which seeing their very reasonable prices should not be a problem at all. First, will come a few restaurants in Europe.

Vanilla, London

mars 11, 2009

Some meals are just weird. 

You can have amazing food in the simplest decor (like at La Merenda), amazing food in a very opulent decor (Louis XV and so on) or you can be surprised by the food served in some odd lounge/restaurant in London.  The latter happened to me today. When Hilary Armstrong asked me if I’d want to join her to go for lunch here, she warned me that it could be very bad. In fact, if you read the reviews Vanilla received after opening, they are not very positive. 

However, they changed chef and now you have a head chef with a most impressive CV: Sous-chef at the Square, having done a tour of Europe at Auberge de l’ill, Arzak, Akelare and Mugaritz, where I had an  amazing meal last August. This alone is reason enough to go and give it try.

When one enters the room, the (very) white lounge hits you first. It is rather futuristic and not as bad as some critics have described it. The room of the restaurant is another story. It just doesn’t look like a place where you’d want to eat this kind of modern cuisine. It looks more like a night club’s restaurant area, where you might go for some out-dated fusion food. The fact, that  only two tables were taken, doesn’t make you feel more at home in this environment. But enough said about the decor, you should get it by now: It’s not as comforting as your usual (better) restaurant.

Let’s come to the food. Amuse was a broccoli milk and a Gougere. Both were decent, without blowing me away. To serve one single gougere does seem a little stingy I guess, but well.

A starter was a scallop, which luckily enough wasn’t sliced into thousand pieces, with a prawn raviolo and a sweet basil veloute. All in all it was a very good starter, for a menu that costs only 14£ (2 courses). Good scallop, although the little beast could have done with a few seconds longer in the pan, well made raviolo and a fragrant emulsion. I didn’t expect such ambitious, and more importantly tasty food here. Hilary’s starter was a little less interesting, but also well made ( a version of maccaroni and cheese).

For main I had pluma of Iberico pork. Now this won’t be the last thing Izu Ani (the chef) has picked up in Spain, but we’ll get on to that later. Iberico is about the best pork you can possibly get. The pigs have the freedom of running around in the Huelva and feast on nuts and other delicacies for a few months every year, which gives their meat a colour similar to beef and an impressive, nutty flavour. Here the pluma was grilled and served with a braised piece and a preparation of trotter. This certainly was a most tasty dish, especially as all the accompaniments went very well with the perfectly cooked pluma. Very good. I wonder why you don’t get something like this more often in London: A great product, well cooked and accompanied by simple, tasty vegetables.

After a pre-dessert of some berry sorbet with a little emulsion and an amazing doughnut we got on to the desserts. A few words about this doughnut though: It was so good, that I asked for a few more; twice or three times, I don’t remember. In total I had about 12 of them and I do not regret it! Amazing, you won’t find any better ones that easily.

The dessert seemed like a little deja-vu: French toast with milk ice cream. Now Andoni Luiz Aduriz serves exactly the same dish. Here however the dish was nearly as good as at Mugaritz, which is as good a compliment as you can have. Seriously, this was a perfectly executed French toast, with a nice crunchy, caramelised top and a moist « body ». The milk ice cream, wasn’t quite as tasty as the one Anodoni serves, but very enjoyable still.

After a few more doughnuts and some mediocre petit-fours we left the restaurant at around 16.30h and were puzzled.

This was quite astonishing, especially if you go expecting some dodgy, pretentious cooking but get very well executed dishes, that certainly didn’t lack flavour or ideas in the composition of the dishes. 

The negative points however are first and foremost the decor. It is just so bad, that even I, who doesn’t really care about it as long as the food is decent, do have trouble enjoying it. It is just not the kind of place you would recommend easily. Not because of the cooking, because for the prices they charge, that is as good as it gets, but simply because the decor is a bit strange. The other point is that a few dishes seem to be taken of the Mugaritz menu and served in the same way here (French toast, clay-baked potatoes). Now in this case I don’t really mind, as it is done so very well, but it is a bit odd eating that stuff here.

Having exchanged a few words with Izu, I found that he is a most potent chef, maybe the only one, who can drive London towards a more avant-garde cuisine. Service too, was very good.

For those who go, you will certainly be quite surprised by what you get. I at least was.

Launceston Place, London

mars 1, 2009

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After my last article, this might seem a little strange: Going for a traditional British Sunday roast. Steve P was in town and with a friend of his and lover of food, we went to this little restaurant in South Kensington. The chef ,Tristan Welsh, was formerly Marcus Wareing’s right hand man at Petrus and now presides over  the kitchen at Launceston Place. He cooks relatively modern British food and is rather well seen by his colleagues and foodies (Jocelyn Herlan recommended him to me and a number of bloggers do find him very good). On Sundays he serves a rather classical roast beef along with all of the obligatory garnishes. This is certainly more classical than his usual food, but for us strangers (Steve and me), a traditional roast does sound quite tempting. The menu offers either the normal a la carte (42£ 3 courses) or the Sunday lunch (24.50£). During the week, they also offer an 18£ menu, which is terrific value.

dscn0194

After having chosen, we are presented with some acceptable parsnip crisps. Bread -sourdough and white- and butter are very good. One thing that a bread lover my me doesn’t enjoy is the minuscule portion of butter they put on the table.

The amuse was a cauliflower soup with some truffled cream. Very decent, tasty start, nicely presented.  The cauliflower however, had this slightly penetrant aftertaste that many don’t like.

 

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Deviled Brown Shrimp were a good starter. The shrimps being sliced and mixed with a very tasty cream and pieces of hard boiled egg. A classically British dish, served in an interesting combination with the shrimp. They came with some bread crisps and showed that this was a rather ambitious kitchen, that can deliver. The only thing that one might not like that much is the presentation itself. This is in general, the only thing I could criticise throughout the meal (and judging from photos on other reviews): The crockery and presentation have an odd touch, not that it looks bad in itself. It seems a bit strange from time to time, but that is a matter of personal taste. Very good.

 

Deviled Shrimps

Deviled Shrimps

The long awaited roast beef came with all the garnishes that make this a real feast: Horseradish cream, roast potatoes, parsnip puree, carrots, broccoli and some form of gougeres. The first thing one can say was that the gougeres were amazing. A crispy shell enclosed an airy, cheesy centre. The roast potatoes too, were as good as it gets. The broccoli and carrots were also on the same level, all in all very well-made garnishes. The beef was very good, if a little under-seasoned. In general, this was just what I hope to find in a restaurant serving British food: Local produce, well executed technique and a coherent plate of food. Excellent.

 

Beef garnishes

Beef garnishes

 

Beef

Beef

Steve and Hillary both went for cheese. The board was made up solely of British cheeses, which seemed to be of top quality.

A pre-dessert made out of a custard topped with some crumble was very good. 

 

Pre-dessert

Pre-dessert

 

 

I went for a Spiced Pear, Chocolate. This was another case of questionable presentation. The bowl just looks so out of place in the modern decor of the restaurant. My Grandmother had that kind of stuff filled up with fruit in her kitchen. I mean it’s always nice to see chefs trying to use original methods of presentation, but they have to have some style. It might just be me though who doesn’t like this kind of crockery.  The dessert was really good actually. Not too sweet, refreshing with the spicy roasted pear, some slightly crunchy chocolate flakes, a pear sorbet and a chocolate sauce. The classic poire belle Helene presented in this odd manner that Welsh seems to be so fond of. Very good.

 

pear

pear

This was a very pleasant lunch, good food, great people, this British ritual of the Roast Beef does seem like a nice idea to me. It remains to be seen how Welsh will develop his cooking as he definitely has potential and good ideas. The service, unfortunately, was not always on par with the cooking. It just didn’t seem to be as well polished or as welcoming as in other restaurants in the capital.