It is almost a decade since my first meal at The Dysart. Head chef Kenneth Culhane has been here since 2013, recruited after winning the Roux Scholarship and training at Patrick Guilbaud. The former pub venue has generously spaced tables, a real fire and a grand piano, reflecting the musical background of the owner Barney Taylor, who runs the front of house. The Dysart’s long overdue Michelin star came in 2020. The tasting menu was £135 per person, or a la carte was £87.50 per head, with a lunch menu at £75. Tonight, we opted for the tasting menu. I have written previously about the very well put together and fairly priced wine menu at The Dysart.
Canapes of Parmesan shortbread was topped with Seville orange marmalade and a little fennel, the bitterness of the oranges working nicely with the biscuit Orkney scallop came on a bed of sushi rice and a garnish of summer truffles, the scallop having very goof flavour (16/20 canapes). Deep-fried langoustine was a simple idea that was very well executed, the coating (feuille de brick) being thin and light, the langoustine naturally sweet and perfectly cooked inside its protective layer. This was served with an excellent Hollandaise style dip. A lot of things could easily go wrong here but this was a classy and delicious dish (17/20).
Sourdough focaccia is made from scratch here and had very good texture; it is very easy for focaccia to dry out but the version here was in pristine condition. The “hot and cold” dish has been on the menu a long time here, with layers of warm hen’s egg yolk, Pedro Ximenes and cold maple syrup. Enlivened with a little salt, this dish is similar to an Alain Passard one and works nicely with its contrasts of textures and temperatures (16/20).
Red mullet was carefully cooked and served with a rich bouillabaisse sauce and a little Tuscan olive oil. Red mullet is one of those fish that can either be lovely or sad and muddy, and the version tonight was excellent, the rich sauce having plenty of depth of flavour (16/20). Oxtail risotto used 7-year aged Acquarello carnaroli rice, bone marrow and pickled chilli. The risotto had lovely texture and had absorbed the richness of the bone marrow and oxtail, with the gentle touch of chilli providing a little bite to offset the richness; this was a superb risotto (17/20).
Turbot came from a huge 14kg fish, served with baby leeks and morel mushrooms with a vin jaune mousseline. The turbot had excellent flavour and was lightly cooked, the morels were lovely and the mousseline was rich and gorgeous (17/20). Longhorn beef fillet came with roast calf sweetbread flavoured with molasses, Swiss chard and a Perigueux sauce (16/20). Oak-smoked Anjou pigeon came with cauliflower puree, hazelnut jus tranche (16/20). Incidentally, a vegetarian main dish of morels was genuinely lovely as well.
A pre dessert of pink grapefruit with vermouth and cardamon was simple and refreshing (15/20). The main dessert was dark chocolate pave with mango and vanilla ice cream. This was lovely, the acidity of the mango enough to cut through the richness of the silky chocolate (16/20). Service, led by owner Barney was charming throughout the evening. The bill came to £251 a head with copious amounts of good wine; if you went a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine then a more typical cost per person might be around £115. I think that this represents fair value given the high standard of the cooking here. The Dysart has a very complete offering, with a relaxed and spacious room, genuinely warm and welcoming service, a fairly priced wine list and high-class food.Book
Further reviews: 17th Feb 2023 | 18th Feb 2022 | 12th Jun 2021 | 24th Jul 2020 | 04th Jul 2020 | 13th Mar 2020 | 15th Nov 2019 | 14th Nov 2018 | 15th Dec 2017 | 15th Sep 2015 | 04th Mar 2014 | 03rd Jan 2014