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.