Since my last meal here the wine list has expanded dramatically, under the guidance of 2013 Young Sommelier of The Year Clement Robert. There are now perhaps 500 wines, ranging in price from £26 to £900, and with bottles from as far afield as Georgia (which incidentally, is where there is the oldest evidence of viticulture, a little matter of 8,000 years ago). Example offerings were Trimbach Riesling 2012 at £45 for a label that you can find in the high street for £13, Talley Arroya at £65 for a bottle that has a shop price of £24, and Chateau Batailley 2003 at £120 for a wine that retails at £41. Cash mark-ups are still substantial even at the top of the list, with Penfolds Grange 2004 at £800 compared to a shop price of £432, and the glorious Guigal La Mouline 1989 at £900 compared to a market price of £540.
Roast quail came with warm foie gras, sweet corn puree, macadamia, and sherry vinegar caramel. The bird was cooked well, though the sweet corn puree seemed a slightly curious pairing given the richness of the foie gras, which was of reasonable rather than dazzling quality; the sherry vinegar at least gave a semblance of balance to the dish (14/20).
Coquelet was served with potato gnocchi, Romaine lettuce, shallot puree and roasting juices flavoured with tarragon. The cockerel chick was cooked well and the tarragon was a classic pairing, the shallot puree having good texture (15/20).
Lemon sorbet was infused with a touch of vodka and served with a pair of freshly cooked Madeleines. I enjoyed the cakes, which had pleasing texture, but I would have preferred the lemon sorbet au naturel; the vodka seemed a rather jarring addition (14/20).
The bill came to £99 a head with some glasses of wine. Service was excellent, unobtrusive yet attentive. The three courses were now priced at £46, with £3.95 for a double espresso, the same as a bottle of water. The price of three courses has nudged up 19% in the roughly two and a half years since I last visited, and so this no longer feels quite the bargain that it once did, though there are plenty of pricier restaurants in London serving less good food. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical price per head all in might be around £81. Based on tonight’s dishes the food seemed a notch less impressive than I remember it, though this was certainly still a perfectly enjoyable meal.
Further reviews: 22nd May 2012