Below are notes from a lunch in August 2008.
Today I tried the £39 set lunch menu. Clearly at a £39 lunch you cannot expect the same level of ingredients in particular as at a full price dinner menu, but nonetheless they have made a good effort with the lunch choices. We began with a clever amuse bouche of ricotta cheese tart with melon and Iberico bellota ham. This combination worked quite well, the excellent ham providing an earth contrast to the cheese and the melon (17/20).
A starter of red mullet ceviche was served on a bed of crushed haricot mais from Bearn, sauce vierge with Taggische olives and sun-dried tomatoes. This was a pretty dish but I felt that there were too many competing flavours, the red mullet ending up rather lost in the mish-mash of tastes (16/20). A tomato de marmande is a peasant dish of a large beef tomato stuffed with assorted confit meats (pork, lamb) then slow cooked in the oven, with a balsamic infused chicken jus and lamb’s lettuce. This was enjoyable enough, though ultimate it did taste like a tomato stuffed with mince, which is after all, what it was (16/20).
An interpretation of Black Forest gateau was a jelly and granite of griotte (wild cherries) with a chocolate shortbread and chocolate sabayon, and to be honest is was not a good idea. Cherries and chocolate are a great combination, but despite the shortbread the overall effect was of a rather soggy chocolate mush with some cherries. Heston’s take on the Black Forest gateau at the Fat Duck is a far more successful idea. Bread is still excellent, with freshly made foccacia, chestnut and white bread, and coffee comes from a menu of choices. My companion’s dishes were rather better than mine e.g. an excellent foie gras terrine and tender lamb, but my meal was rather a let-down after the excellent dinner I had here a few weeks before. Ms Darroze was away in Paris today, and perhaps that did not help.