You enter this grand dining room via a very smart bar, on the night of my visit it was full of City types on dates. The dining room itself has a very high ceiling and generously spaced tables. On this quiet Tuesday in January there were in fact only a handful of diners, despite the busy bar. An amuse-bouche appeared: a duo of spherical mousses, one of cream cheese flavoured with chives, the other of foie gras; these were served with a few pieces of melba toast and plantain chips. The texture of the balls of mousse was fair but they both lacked real depth of flavour (14/20). My starter was ravioli of native blue lobster, with a couple of pieces of lobster meat and a shellfish bisque flavoured with Armagnac. The lobster was quite decenrtly cooked with only a hint of chewiness, the pasta having pleasant texture and the bisque itself perhaps a little too thick to be ideal (15/20). My wife's veloute of fresh sweetcorn, with sweetcorn and cep tortellini was garnished with Parmesan and truffle oil. The veloute itself was light enough, but this is a tricky ingredient to bring to life, and a bit of trufflle oil did not do the trick (13/20).
Better was slow cooked Charolais beef bourgignon, meltingly tender and resting in a good reduction of the cooking juices, served with a pleasant caramelised parsnip and a surprisingly dull potato puree, which was too heavy in texture (15/20 overall, mainly for the beef and jus). The meat was served in a ball, surrounded by caramelised shallots and mushrooms. Halibut fillet was roasted and timed well, served with a fricassee of Jerusalem artichoke and cep mushroom, along with a blob of caramelised celeriac puree and chicken jus (14/20).
The meal was lifted by dessert. Prune and Armagnac soufflé was well executed technically, light and fluffy with good flavour, served with a blob of goof prune and Armagnac ice cream (16/20). Warm chocolate ganache was made with high quality dark chocolate, rich and silky, served with capable mango sorbet (16/20). Coffee was very good quality, offered with rather large petit fours (grand fours?) e.g. jelly of blackcurrant, a Turkish delight and a dark chocolate (16/20). Breads were served warm and pretty clearly pre-bought rolls, pleasant but nothing remarkable (15/20). Service was fairly efficient if not friendly. One point to note was a pathetic “glass” of dessert wine that turned up as 75 cl without any hint of this downsizing on the menu. It was only after considerable discussion that the waiter gracelessly agreed to make this up to 125 cl, which under the trading standards rules at this time was what a glass should have been unless otherwise stated on the menu.
Further reviews: 21st Mar 2014