After a very good first meal here, it was time to have a look at how the roast beef they serve here compares to other restaurants in the city. The internet advertised the beef being carved from the trolley, which did sound intriguing and sparked my curiosity. Upon arriving the staff immediately recognised us and we were shown to our table. Throughout the enitre meal, the service proved to be as good as on the first time, maybe even more welcoming.
Wine-wise, the list still offers some incredibly well-priced finds, although a large number of interesting bottles have already disappeared (and been replaced by less exciting, much less friendly priced ones). We drank a 2003 Saumur “Breze” from Clos Rougeard. This wine is a legend, and I had looked forward to drinking it for quite a while now. It might not be what one usually drinks with a piece of beef, but the lady was eating fish, and I was smiling all over the place when I saw the bottle and the price. Hence we went ahead. And boy was I glad I did! It showed beautiful concentration, a rather full body, rich floral and stone fruit aromas. I loved it. Chenin blanc probably does not get much better. Shame that this is rather rare and pricey nectar…
The roast beef menu is priced at £35 for three courses, and they omit the extras on this menu. No problem for me, as the quality of products was very high.
Roast scallops with curried lentils were the first course. The dish didn’t read very interestingly, but it surely was quite surprising when it reached our table: The scallops were huge, and seemed to have been prepared incredibly simply, without any unnecessary garnishes. The deep-fried fennel was a little on the fatty side, meaning that it wasn’t really perfect from a technical point of view. The lentils had just enough spice from the curry, to caress the scallops’ delicate flesh and add an earthy element. What really impressed though were the beautiful scallops. Of impressive size, they were perfectly cooked and seasoned and quite simply a joy to eat. Very good.
Now however, it was time for the beef. The trolley slowly approached our table, and I was asked, if a pink or rather well done piece would be more to my liking. Of course requested a pink slice, which was cooked just as you’d want it to be. Portion-wise, it was generous as two thick slices were drowned in nice roasting jus, and were served with the best roast potatoes of my life, some very well cooked green beans and rather bland carrots. The beef was tasty, tender, and very enjoyable. It wasn’t a show-stopper, but was pleasant enough. The real stars were others though: The potatoes were stunning, and the Yorkshire puddings were even better than the Harwood’s (sorry guys). Another winner then, Good for the beef, very good for the rest.
As a dessert I chose a Guanaja sponge, with caramelised white chocolate foam. This seemed incredibly daring for an establishment like the capital, but my choice was a good one. A rather neat composition allied many more elements than were listed on the menu, combining into an excellent dessert. The caramelised white chocolate foam was of particular interest, as one rarely comes across caramelised white chocolate. It added a more nutty, complex note to the often overly sweet chocolate, and proved to complement the other elements more than well. Very good.
So, after a good coffee, and a few very civilised hours, we moved back into the real world. Happy, sated and ready for the rest of the day. I must say, that this place really has charm. It’s small, rather relaxed, and has a great wine list, and a more than competent chef. He might not be among the more inventive cooks, but then you are in a very traditional environment here and something like Viajante would have a tough time fitting in. Whilst not being as charming as the Gavroche or something like that, the atmosphere in this dining room has something very comforting about it.