Medlar, Chelsea/Kensington, London
Good focaccia, spongy, moist, with a nice whiff of rosemary and a savoury dose of salt. Sourdough bread is ordinary, barely any sourness, and the texture less tender than the focaccia.
A rich creamy crustacean sauce overlays a crab raviolo, topped with delicate threads of gently oceany and salty samphire, small brown prawn, and a soft delicious bed of leeks, sweet against the cream and sauce. The crustacean sauce threatens to overwhelm the more delicate white crab meat at times, but the latter often comes back with a light but discernible flavour, after intensity of the sauce. Lovely texture on the raviolo too, firm and somewhat al dente. Against the gruner veltliner on the by the glass list, the heaviness of the sauce retreats into something much more balanced, and the slight flab in the wine goes away, focusing the wine a bit -- more mineral backbone, dry and slightly woodsy. A great pairing of wine and food.
The young syrah from Northern Rhone, also by the glass, shows surprising poise. Light and very soft for a syrah, well structured, fruit, oak and acidity with a pleasant muted roughness and leather. The wine supported the pork very well, a chop of the faintest possible pink, flanked by rich intense fibres of the cheeks. A subtle sheen of butter in the black cabbage and celeriac puree work together as pleasant counterpoints against the pork. Best part: crunchy porky crackling, the pleasure on par with the chicarrones at El Rancho de Lalo.
A basic pear tart, more crumbly crust (delightful edges darkened with heat and butter) than pear, bolstered by dense clean clotted cream, and lots of toasted almonds.
Good chocolate truffles, a satisfying crackle from the thin coat of well tempered chocolate.
While cooking may not be (imho) as elegant and finessed as, say Bistrot Bruno Loubet, the undoubtfully good food and blissful wine pairing makes the Medlar an outstanding neighbourhood place, which is what I think it purports to be.
having originally visited last summer i finally made it back on friday, with friends, and we had a superb meal.
the crab raviolo remains on the menu (their top seller, they've just topped 20,000 apparently!) as does the duck egg tart (which i previously had and loved). i had the raviolo, having missed out previously and it was delicious; deemed by the table to be better than the other choices - lamb's tongue and lentil salad; foie gras and smoked eel terrine.
for main i had the vegetarian option - gnocchi with cavolo nero, wet walnuts and reblochon - which was so, so good.
others were happy too - a huge under fillet blade (beef) with snails (slightly curried which was a nice change from just garlic) and chips/bearnaise; melt-in-your-mouth mallard with buckwheat pancakes and beetroot; beatuful pork ( i loved the cheek) with boudin noir, chestnuts and squash; plus a couple of lovely fresh and much-lighter fish dishes.
my pudding was an almond panna cotta with px but i also loved the complementary beignets with plum and ginger ice cream. the chocolate tart was declared by my friend her best choc pudding for ages, both light and rich. the cheese board looked delicious too.
great wine advice too - we love the croatian recommnedation.