I always did find myself regarding with particular suspicion objects that described themselves as gold, platinum or the latest marketing gimmick, diamond quality. In the race to reach for ever more precious metals, I do wonder what they will go for next. Maybe it will be rhodium. That’s rarer, expensive and more shiny. Yet the original genesis of this marketing ploy seemed to be adding the word quality to everything. Although I did wonder how you could regard particular foodstuffs as quality. It did make me suspicious as the corollary of the word quality meant that there would be careful checking and discarding of materials that did not make the grade. So where did all the rejects end up? Did it mean that elsewhere in the shop they would be stocking rotting produce?
With such thoughts running through our heads (or at least mine), the meal started off somewhat confusingly.
A plate. Here I was slightly perplexed as it looked suspiciously like a Chinese plate. An item particularly out of place in such an seemingly archetypal British establishment. Although perhaps it was a throwback to the heady days of British colonialism in China. Yet, let’s not bring up the past such as the opium wars here. This is a food review after all, not a place to debate the finer points of antiquity.
Devon crab, Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion. I do particularly enjoy crab and would eat more but for a small problem. I prefer to eat food which does not require expenditure of more calories to eat than it provides. I remember on occasion trying with all my might to extract a particularly well wedged piece of flesh in a crab shell. With all my might, sometimes the dead crab would laugh at the stupid human.
Yet the problem can be solved when someone else gets the succulent meat out, mixes it with vegetables and flowers, and serves it to you. This was light and even more refreshing without the requisite labour usually involved with procuring this type of meat.
Goose egg and celery salt. A particularly large egg, with delicate salt only serving to make it more interesting. Interesting in a good way.
Pig skin. To be dipped into the egg and salt and consumed altogether. A slightly messy, atypical yet particularly tasty treat. Crunchy skin, chunky egg and savory salt combined together to make something particularly welcome.
Cuttlefish, smoked Mangalitza, onion and buckwheat. The delicate cuttlefish was cooked just right, avoiding the rubberiness that can often mar this aquatic species when cooked. The buckwheat was an inspired addition creating some crunch and bite. Soft and crunchy, smooth and sharp all went together exceedingly well.
Pork chop. Some people seem to harbour the mistaken idea that I love eating fat. Actually, they are wrong. I adore an elegant, juicy, tasty bit of animal insulation. Thankfully, this was it. This has to rank as one of the best examples of pork I have had in the United Kingdom. With a meaty yet smooth taste, a definite delight.
John Dory, sea vegetables, bisque and Marinda tomato. Unfortunately, the fish was not nearly as good as the pork. It was not bad but suffered from slightly overzealous salting and cooked a touch too much. The fish should have taken some lessons from the pig on how to be cooked.
Confit potatoes. Heavenly potato cakes. Our waitress mentioned in passing that there had been a suggestion of removing these from the menu but a mutiny by the waiting staff put such thoughts firmly to bed. I myself would bite anyone who dared to suggest removal. If there is any reason to come here, it is for this.
Spring greens. Not particularly interesting, these were just veggies, not bad but too green for me. Then again, that is just my personal tastes.
Rhubarb, blood orange, meringue and peanuts. A little surprise whipped up for my dairy intolerant friend. Fresh fruits with meringue. Hearsay says it was ok. Looked ok to me too.
Ling heather honey custard tart with cream. This had a pleasant tang, sweetness and smoothness. Although it was decent rather than exceptional.
Some things deserve to be described with particularly conducive adjectives. Like the lovely succulent pork chop, the sublime confit potato and the sense of the French electorate. Not that I have anything against the other candidates but stability is a good thing for the world. And that is reason enough for another helping of quality potatoes. Anyone?
A quiet eating 8/10.
Dinner (all of the above for 2) was GBP50 excluding drinks and service per person. Please note that we did order an obscene amount of food.
88-94 Farringdon Rd,
London EC1R 3EA