Recent reports: Texture, Corrigan's, Ceviche
A few recent meals I thought I'd report back on.
We had a decent meal here the other week. Quite a few positives in what is a decent room with friendly staff.
Anjou quail with sweetcorn, shallot, bacon, red wine. Amazing dish, absolutely stunning perfect cooking, clever combinations and an absolute joy.
Veal with Jersey Royales and artichokes: nothing spectacular just a very good dish.
Downsides were them telling us there was no halibut left (if you have two fish mains, and five mains in total, you really shoudn't run out by 830 in a restaurant of this standard).
Cod dish was average.
Icelandic Skyr for dessert lacked any standout flavours and was a real let down.
Overall I will continue to recommend Texture but not quite so wholeheartedly, just a misstep or two too many at this price point. Still one of the best restaurants to eat this sort of food in London, especially with the demise of Roganic this weekend, but I'd definitely put it below Viajante, PSS and Alyn Williams on my list now in this bracket.
I feel like I now understand the rush when Rayner or Coren gear up for a bad review but this really was very poor.
Wonderful backslapping welcome for 4 men in suits. Once we started ordering from the lower half of the wine list all the chumminess instantly dried up.
Tried the tasting menu and there were some nice touches but almost every dish had flaws:
Duck liver had no discernible taste of the advertised truffle and the 'toast' was soggy.
Crab ravioli was horrendously undercooked and chewy with cardboard texture on the edge of the pasta. Inside there was significant amounts of shell in the crab which sat on awfully oversalted samphire.
My John Dory arrived with a huge curled black hair on top of the white fish (far too long to be mine). I mentioned this and was quite surprised that they seemed entirely unconcerned and told me that hair nets are worn in the kitchen which was something of a non sequitur. Disastrous addition of preserved lemon which completely dominated all other flavours. Fish itself (minus hair) was lovely.
Sweetbreads slightly undercooked but otherwise a lovely lamb dish.
Souffle average - they could do with Tom Kitchin coming down to teach them how to make one.
Overall I was completely taken aback by quite how bad this meal was for £75 when you consider what you can get at Alyn Williams and PSS nearby. Maybe some people like the ambience but for anyone foodie enough to be consulting Chowhound this is a huge no no.
Been meaning to try this place for a while despite some lukewarm reviews. Sea bass ceviche was wonderful, octupus and chorizo skewer very nice and the heritage tomato salad one of the best I've had. Really do recommend it but for a quite bite rather than a big evening out. I would say it's priced a little above its weight but not by much and I quite genuinely keep thinking about the sea bass ceviche so often I probably need to go back.
Interesting about Corrigan. We've not eaten at his current place but had a good meal at the Lindsay House in 2008. But it was one of those "good" meals where it should have been better - although I accept that we made comparisions with an absolutely stellar meal at Hibiscus the night before.
Corrigan's equally disappointed us - we went in its first year. However, I was more disappointed though that it was so loved by the online community and the media, I am not naive enough to believe a lot that I read, but since then I have been rather cynical about "on trend" London places.
I do sometimes wonder about places which get praised to high heaven but not necessarily for the food. I remember reading that Richard Corrigan said he kept photos of all major critics up in the kitchen so wait staff would recognise them and I think a savvy restaurant nowadays will give a few bloggers good meals, to the point where they overlook the flaws that would stand out if they were paying for themselves.
Not saying that's what Corrigan's did but I have been left equally baffled by high praise of places before.