Our return visit to Pollen Street Social was driven by a desire to try the tasting menu, something that was unavailable in the early days when the small plates concept was available. With some guests finding this tricky for the usual small plate reasons like how much to order, how to share a slow cooked egg etc, the menu now is a more recognisable format of starters, mains and desserts so the tasting menu is a welcome addition.
The menu dishes have also changed somewhat as both customer feedback and the restaurant's increasing confidence shape the menu. Certain favourites are still there such as the cauliflower & squid which is featured on the tasting menu and is in itself reason enough for a visit to PSS since it is as clever as it is tasty replacing rice in a risotto with diced squid. The dessert bar also continues to thrive with most of the original desserts having survived, though as we found with the Eton mess, one year on it has become a somewhat more elegant dish.
The menu too is an interesting one, not least because of the Asian influences that are in dishes. The French quail for example come with mirin pickled vegetables while the miso braised leg is one of the highlights of the meal. Another highlight is undoubtedly the 50 day aged pure breed Black Angus rib-eye that came alongside the braised ox-cheek: it's one of the best pieces of beef you're likely to eat. The ox-cheek itself made for a fabulous dish, so tender it's a wonder how it holds its form on the plate, but plated alongside the 50 day aged rib-eye, it hardly puts up a fight. With the likes of Goodman now dominating the steak scene in London, it's nice to see somewhere like PSS hitting back with such a quality offering.
It's easy to forget that Pollen Street Social is just a year old, still relatively new then, but already a well loved addition to the London restaurant scene. If like us you visited PSS in the early days but haven't been back for a while, it's definitely worth going back to see what's new. If however you have yet to visit PSS, well, you should, it really is very good.
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Pollen Street Social (April 2011)
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