Texture, Portman Street, London W1
bombaybeauty mentioned in the Three Days In London thread that nobody had written up Texture on the boards yet. OK; I went there recently so I thought I'd kick things off.
Modern European food with a focus on the north (the head chef is Icelandic). We started with drinks in the bar before moving into the dining room (which is very nice, with a high, ornate ceiling) for the five-course tasting menu.
Really liked the amuse bouche of pickled herring with onion and dill cream on sourdough toast; nothing unusual or spectacular but just right. Also quite keen on the first course of "winter vegetable textures", which included celeriac, parsnip, carrot, jerusalem artichoke, and beetroot; some roasted, some lightly pickled, some pureed.
Second-course pigeon was cooked very well — quite rare, lovely and tender — though the accompanying bacon popcorn was a let-down. This course and the next (monkfish with passion fruit and grapefruit) were both fairly sweet, which started getting a bit annoying. Pork belly in the fourth course was excellent, tender and flavourful, but the pork crackle and suckling pig that came with it were less exciting.
Pre-dessert of blood orange sorbet with sabayon and blood orange segments was OK, but the dessert proper of lemongrass and ginger soup with (coconut?) sorbet was quite excellent (it also had what I'm fairly sure was a piece of (braised?) fennel in it, though a number of other reviewers seem to have identified this as onion, which makes a lot less sense). Do note though that I don't really like desserts, so it's quite possible that someone who does like them would have found this disappointing. For me, it was perfect.
More details, maps, review links, etc, at http://london.randomness.org.uk/wiki....
Not really. The popcorn was just normal popcorn, flavoured with what I think was probably something along the lines of powdered dehydrated bacon. The bacon flavour was quite subtle, and I would have preferred more of that.
We also got the bacon popcorn (unsolicited) with our pre-dinner drinks, and I thought the repetition later in the actual meal was a bit odd.