This meal began with an interesting amuse-bouche. Cep mousse was served with toast, while on the side a cafetiere was filled with mushroom powder and left to infuse to produce a wild mushroom and dashi broth. The mousse had smooth texture and plenty of flavour, whilst the broth also had nice depth of mushroom taste (14/20).
Crispy organic egg with artichoke was a pleasant enough dish, though the egg itself was not quite hot; however the artichoke went well with the egg (13/20). Better was stuffed quail served with a salad of Muscat grapes and walnuts, with a cep brioche on the side. The quail was carefully cooked and had good flavour, and the acidity of the grapes nicely balanced the richness of the bird (15/20).
Sea bream topped with carrots, walnuts and grapefruit was another balanced dish, the bream precisely cooked (15/20). Braised beef cheek was served with black pudding and pancetta, with a Swiss chard gratin on the side. Although the meat was tender, this was a very rich dish, and the gratin was an odd accompaniment; the dish was crying out for something green or, even better something acidic to cut through the richness of the meat (13/20).
Chocolate fondant with praline was another rich dish, but very well executed, and here the nuts brought some contrast to the rich chocolate (15/20). Rhubarb was just in season, served with white chocolate discs and excellent ginger mousse – this was an attractive and enjoyable dish, the rhubarb’s natural acidity going well with the white chocolate, the ginger lifting the dish (15/20).
The bill came to £95 a head, albeit with a nice bottle of wine. If you ordered modest wine then a realistic bill would be nearer £60 a head. Service was excellent, attentive and friendly. This is a restaurant that seems invisible to social media, yet was packed out on this weekday evening despite its less than central location. As at my previous meal, the cooking was inventive and generally skilful.