The meal today began with a starter of gazpacho with smoked eel, brioche crumbs and rhubarb ice cream was particularly impressive. The flavour of the Datterini tomatoes from Sicily was superb, the eel adding an extra flavour dimension and working well with the hint of acidity from the rhubarb (16/20). Also good was flame-grilled mackerel with mesclun salad, gooseberries and an elderflower and buttermilk vinaigrette, the line-caught fish precisely cooked and having excellent flavour (15/20). The sourdough bread here, made from scratch, has superb texture and crust (17/20).
Turbot was served with crushed cucumber, spinach, smoked Linzer potatoes (a waxy potato a little like the variety Charlotte) and beurre blanc sauce. The fish was accurately cooked and the potatoes had lovely flavour (easily 15/20). Challans duck had fine flavour, the leg slow cooked and served with beetroot, fresh almonds, endive, blackcurrant puree and a sauce made from the cooking juices. This dish had clean flavour, the garnishes nicely balancing the richness of the duck (16/20).
Three desserts were on offer. Peach and almond tart was served with creme fraiche and had good texture and flavour (15/20). Brioche pain perdu came with excellent roasted apricots, lemon verbena sorbet and fromage blanc (15/20). Blueberry parfait came with blueberry compote, yoghurt and elderflower sorbet. The fruit, from Limousin, was of good quality though for me this was the least exciting of the desserts (14/20).
Service was excellent and the bill came to £84 a head with a cheese course and some glasses of wine. If you order carefully then a typical cost per head would be around £70 a head. This is fair for food that is of consistently high quality and based on excellent ingredients. With one of the best wine lists in London, a nice room and friendly service, Bonhams is the complete restaurant package.