As is often the case when I'm photographing food in low light, these pictures aren't the best but hopefully they'll give you a sense of how magical the food was! We had booked for the 10 course tasting menu which is priced at £95 a head. The menu was colour coded by dots indicating the different flavour elements - Salt, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami.
The 10 courses were:
- Scallop 'black'
- The 'muesli'
- Crab 'satay'
- Pork jowl - piccalilli, salted apple
- Onion - from the wood oven, aged garlic
- Duck - goosnargh - carrot, bitter chocolate
- Rice pudding - jam - sake
- Chocolate - mandarin - olive oil - salt
- Rhubarb - custard
The stand out dish for me was the crab satay. It was so simple but the flavours were mind blowing. The crab was dressed simply with coriander and spring onions and was sat on a bed of satay sauce, topped with a peanut brittle which you smashed down onto the dish before eating.
The 'muesli' was edging into Heston Blumenthal territory - a bowl of muesli at first glance - but upon eating, it out to be a layered dish of different textures and temperatures. The bottom of the bowl was a cold chicken mousse (or similar texture) topped with crunchy seeds and oats. We were advised to scoop it up in a big spoonful to get all the textures and tastes in one mouthful!
We also loved the crossover - sweet and savoury lollipops. They were a kind of lime mousse dipped in white chocolate with fennel and nuts on the outside. They came out on a bed of liquorice root which looked really cool too. A palette cleansing transition from the meaty pork jowl and duck to the chocolate dish.
Of the three puddings, the chocolate dish was a clear favourite with all three of us. Chloe pointed out that it looked like a giant aero and she was right, that's exactly what it was! The olive oil emulsion and sea salt matched the chocolate perfectly and the whole dish was pure delight. I was so sad when it was over!
We also paid extra to have the Duck Egg 62°c, Sat's 10/10/10 scoring dish from Great British Menu a few years ago. We shared it between the three of us and all LOVED it! I've never tasted peas like it - they tasted how you imagine peas to taste, only better and the pea sorbet was crazy good. If you go, its worth the extra £15 to try this dish.
I know you'd expect nothing less from a two Michelin starred restaurant but the service was absolutely perfect. But above and beyond even what you'd have expected. From the moment we arrived, the maitre d', the waiters and the sommelier were all friendly, chatty and extremely knowledgeable. We mentioned when we arrived that the reason for the visit was my 30th birthday gift and at the end of the meal, the maitre d' came over and referenced this (almost 2 hours later on a busy Saturday night, she'd remembered!). She then offered me a signed copy of the menu for my birthday and took us to the kitchen to meet Sat. How fantastic? He was cool, collected and very funny. A laugh and a joke with Sat was just the icing on the cake for a superb dining experience from start to finish!
*We paid for our meal and they did not know I was planning to review it. The bill came to £430 for three of us - this included x3 10 course tasting menus, 1 additional course, two glasses of wine, a beer and a bottle of wine. Worth every penny! *