Below are notes from a meal in February 2010.
I like the décor, which included art deco style panels and a lush, thick carpet; it is hard to get away from a hotel dining room feel, but the tables were generously spaced and the room well appointed; lighting could be improved, and became gloomier as the evening wore on. I have no idea why some London restaurant managers think it is a cunning plan to dim the lights part way through the meal; presentation of the food here is skilful, and it is a pity to be peering into the gloom to appreciate it. The tasting menu is £55 for five courses (£75 for seven courses) with starters priced at around £18, main courses nearer £30 and desserts at £8.50. Lunch was £28 for three courses.
We began with a plate of amuse-bouches: a spoon of sea urchin was well paired with Oscietra caviar, yellowfin tuna was marinated with orange juice, cannolo of sea bass was served with a mini celery salad and cantaloupe melon, and langoustine roll was served with capers and Rice Krispies. The star was the langoustine roll, a little tail of raw Scottish langoustine, the capers balancing the seafood taste and the Rice Krispies giving a texture contrast. In fact each of the elements of this dish featured an astute pairing of ingredients, the sea urchin given a salty contrast of caviar, the slightly fatty tuna balanced by the acidity of the orange (17/20, more for the langoustine).
The first proper course was carbonara fagotelli, which I have described previously, though it was a fraction less hot than ideal by the time it arrived with us today (17/20). Warm pheasant was served on a bed of red cabbage and Sicilian dried fruit and delicate mini-salad. I enjoyed the dish but again temperature was an issue, the elaborate presentation probably contributing to the dish not being quite as hot as it should have been (16/20).
An intermediate course of spaghetti of monkfish with red peppers and courgettes was the star of the meal, stunning pasta with beautifully cooked monkfish, the courgettes and peppers adding a pleasing additional dimension to the dish (18/20 is perhaps too mean a score).
A pre-dessert of yoghurt ice cream in a cornet, a liquid strawberry concoction and mandarin sorbet was a very skilful dish, the mandarin sorbet in particular having stunning texture and flavour (17/20 overall but higher for the sorbet, which was pretty much faultless). Millefeuille of raspberry was made with Chantilly cream and hazelnut ice cream, with hazelnut crumbs providing a texture contrast; this was enjoyable but not the best of the desserts, though an accompanying strawberry gratin flavoured with almonds was excellent (16/20).
Creamy cheesecake with lemon ice cream was as good as at a previous meal (17/20). “White dream” was an orange parfait, yoghurt ice cream filled with raspberry coulis, a sphere of meringue filled with a passion fruit cream and a pair of delicate chocolate cylinders. Again this dessert showed a high degree of technical skill, the various components of the dish working well together (18/20). Coffee (espresso from Illy) was rich and dark, and a plate of petit fours was excellent (easily 17/20). Service was superb, highly attentive without being in any way obtrusive.