Six of us were sitting down to dinner with five of the party chefs or former chefs including a Michelin star winner. You could say that this was a tough table for any restaurant.
With everyone wanting to try a bit of everything, we ordered from across the menu with all plates going in the middle for everyone to try. There was a broad consensus around both the food and individual dishes. Overall, this was a restaurant that we liked and did a number of things well; it also did a few things less well. The biggest single issue that came up again and again with everyone in agreement was that the food was under seasoned. While there was no salt and pepper on the table, we ended up asking for some and most felt a need to additionally season the food. We wonder how much better it could have been had it been seasoned before and during the cooking process.
We started with the Anchoiade & Breakfast Radish, a dish that was tickled pink by as he imagined the margin on half a dozen radishes. At £3 for the plate though, this would neither break our bank nor make theirs. The lardo was a hit across the board. The terrine went down well with the predominance of liver tastes to people's liking though seasoning was of course raised. This was especially true on the pork rillette where it was good but could have been great if it had been better seasoned.
The Boudin noir raised some debate on both texture (too crumbly) and creaminess with some not liking its sweeter notes. With the runny egg, potatoes and the textured salt on top, it was for me at least one of the best boudin noirs I've tasted. I should add that despite the debate, both orders of the boudin noir were finished and clean plates sent back to the kitchen.
The clams too were consumed in full at some pace with no real complaints by anyone around the table, just the hushed silence of enjoyment.
Where there was universal criticism was the desserts where the floating island, lemon tart and crepes with salted butter caramel were ordered for the table. With six people around the table, not a single dessert plate was finished. Everybody felt that these desserts were bought in and that 'pre-made' quality came through. The floating island was excessively sweet. The salty caramel bits sprinkled over completely missed on salty caramel notes and were just overly crunchy. The recent floating island at Arbutus was significantly better executed.
The lemon tart was acceptable but felt very supermarket shelf. The crepes with the salted butter caramel had a slightly chewy texture and again missed the balancing saltiness. Disappointing.
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