We’ve never chosen a dessert before we’ve even looked at a menu. In fact, quite often we shun pudding altogether, sated by a puritanical peppermint tea instead. However, after viewing that apple approximately 9,526 times on social media, in magazines and in technicolour billboard form, it was unavoidable.
Stylish, lively and a bit classy, we were impressed with the restaurant not least for its great lighting and Instagrammable full-length mirror in the ladies loo. A Friday night G&T was always on the cards and as a lover of Tanqueray I was intrigued by Tanqueray 10 on the drinks list which was a bit more pricey than the usual version – notes of camomile being the main difference. I have to say I preferred the original, but it was perfectly quaffable nonetheless.
Everything about the menu appealed resulting in much indecision. Duo of salmon (poached and hot smoked) bound in crème fraiche with pea, mint and shallot salad provided the ideal opener. With classic flavour combos it was fresh, light, delicate and looked every inch a knockout.
For the other half who is normally almost entirely carnivorous, goat’s cheese two ways (one creamy and rich and one coated in breadcrumbs and fried like little croquettes) with heritage tomato, beetroot and toasted pine kernels. The cheese was beautiful, the salad was refreshing and the whole plate was extremely pretty.
Slow cooked ox cheek, creamy mash, pickled celeriac and a red wine reduction was straight out of the top drawer. The meat was melt in the mouth tender, the mash was everything mashed potato should be and the sauce was brilliant, plus there was lots of it with an extra little jug of the silky jus on the side. Confit belly of pork with sweet potato mash, buttered greens and crispy bacon tasted just as delicious as its description. Again super tender, flavour packed meat with top-notch veggies and another cracking sauce. The place was buzzing by this point. It definitely felt like ‘out out’ territory in the best possible way.
Pastry chef Darryl treated us to three of the restaurant’s favourite puds, including The Apple. More of that later. Passion fruit cheesecake with Jamaican ginger cake crumb and mango sorbet was no ordinary cheesecake. Vibrant yellow, tart, sweet, spiced with ginger, it was really interesting and moreishly good. Salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread with butterscotch crémeux and malted milk ice cream was rich and indulgent – probably a bit big for us given the richness, but definitely a chocolate lover’s dream. Speaking of dreams, The Apple. So, it tasted like the best apple crumble we’ve ever tasted in a more complex form. The crumble bit provided a stand for the apple and was gorgeous in its own right, but when teamed with apple compote, white chocolate and brown sugar apple puree, it was just downright magic. It did not disappoint and that’s saying something given the hype.