In March 2013 La Trompette reopened after a refurbishment which has seen two small additional dining rooms, a larger kitchen and a general décor refresh; the restaurant can now seat 75 diners at one time. The kitchen has been upgraded in more ways than one, with the installation as head chef of Rob Weston, who was head chef of The Square under Phil Howard for over a decade.
I had two further meals here in July 2013, confirming that the level of cooking under Mr Weston has improved compared to when the kitchens were run by Anthony Boyd.
Slices of tuna were lightly seared and served with anchovies, French beans, black olives and crushed potato. This was a classical set of Mediterranean flavours, the beans cooked properly, the tuna of reasonable quality (15/20). Suckling pig was served with peas, broad beans, smoked creamed potato and grapefruit puree. The suckling pig itself was very good, with crisp crackling, the meat having plenty of flavour. However the smoking of the potato gave an odd flavour note, and although the grapefruit puree was a logical pairing to the richness of the pork, the puree itself was very astringent (14/20). Burnt vanilla cream with poached cherries was nicely balanced, the cherries going well with the vanilla (15/20).
At a March meal I started with a quail raviolo with savoury onions topped with bacon foam and a barbeque dressing. The pasta had good texture, the hint of bacon went well, though the overall effect was quite rich (15/20). Scallop (optimistically described on the menu as "scallops") with lightly curried parsnip puree had the useful balance of pear to provide some acidity. The scallop (from Orkney) had good natural sweetness and was carefully timed, the hint of curry flavour not too strong for the delicate flavour of the shellfish (16/20).
For main course, roe deer was served with glazed carrots, mash, turnip tops and juniper. The deer had good flavour but again this was a very rich dish, and I wondered whether a little more acidity would have been useful (15/20). Short rib of beef was slow-cooked and served with a croustillant of oxtail-smoked bone marrow, and picked walnuts, the walnuts here providing an extra textural element and the pickling a useful sourness to cut through the richness of the beef (16/20).
For dessert, early season Alphonso mango was served with gingerbread, passion fruit, whipped ewe’s milk yoghurt and lime. This was a refreshing dish, the lime working well with the yoghurt, and the mango contributing their lovely fragrance (16/20). Chocolate pave was served with milk ice cream and candied hazelnuts, the latter working well with the chocolate (strong 15/20).
Service was very good, as it always is here. Overall this was a much better meal than the last one I had here under the previous chef. I had previously downgraded the score for La Trompette and was on the verge of doing so again based on my last meal here, but under Mr Weston things are clearly back on track, even in the first week of operation. There are limits to how high La Trompette can aim given its price point and the ceiling this imposes on ingredient quality, but the technical level of cooking seemed to me getting back on track today, and I think that the new chef is on the way to restoring the culinary standards of La Trompette, which had slipped under the previous incumbent.Book
Further reviews: 25th Feb 2023 | 20th Sep 2022 | 03rd Jul 2021 | 24th Nov 2019 | 15th Oct 2018 | 08th Sep 2017 | 05th Jan 2017 | 13th Dec 2012
My second visit to La Trompette (we live in France but visit annually). We were looking for somewhere to celebrate our Ruby wedding anniversary a 4, and found most places that we didn't know and wanted to visit closed on Sunday 30th December. After a wonderful evening there, I'm delighted this was the case. The obligatory and celebratory champagne (Henriot pink) had been ordered by my brother in advance, (without my knowledge), and was served reasonably fast, though we had to remind them to do so. Apart from that minor glitch, service was impeccable, with the Toulousaine Sommelière both knowledgeable and friendly. As your main review says, the wine list is a delight, and the dessert wine list as splendid and as intelligently put together as one might wish. Our starters consisted of "Steamed paupiettes of seabass and crab with mussels à la marinière.", "Boudin blanc with sautéed spinach, madeira sauce and pistachio nuts" and "Salad of winter leaves with poached quince, walnuts, roquefort and sweet mustard." I've nothing but praise for them. In the salad, the bitterness of the salading was offset perfectly by the salty roquefort and the sweetness of the mustard and the quince with the walnuts adding an agreeable crunch. Lovely. The boudin was magnificent. No tasteless stodge here! Tasty, light as a feather and perfectly seasoned. The Sauce Madère was as sticky and unctuous as it should be, the spinach wonderfully tender and the whole dish was a delight. My sea bass was even better than the boudin, in my view. How on earth they had managed to get really good quality fresh fish on a Sunday just after Christmas, I don't know, but they did. All the components were perfect. Up till the 30th, the best fish I'd ever had was a John Dory chez Bras in Laguiole. This paupiette had it beat on all grounds. The fish was easily as fresh and as good, the concept more subtle and the cooking perfection. I'd have to give it 10/10 if I were permitted to mark! The main courses we ordered (with a glorious and reasonably priced 1993 Charmes-Chambertin from Remoissonet) were "Duck Magret, braised savoy cabbage, cassoulet of tarbais beans, bacon and duck confit", "Breast and leg of poulet noir with potato gnocchi, leek hearts, vin jaune and tarragon", and "Slow cooked pork belly, potato & pancetta gratin, pumpkin, trompettes and rosemary." All were excellent, but for me the high point were the ladies' chicken. The legs were beautifully tender and unctuous without being in any way flabby, for example. All the sauces were splendidly different and concentrated. The presentation was elegant, without excess. My brother's cassoulet was wonderful, light and subtle, and the Tarbais beans were from Tarbes, as they should be. My pork belly was wonderfully tender without being too fatty and the accompaniments perfectly judged. Our desserts were "Crème Brûlée with prune compote", "Griottine cherry and pistachio tart with Jersey cream" and "Valrhona chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream, iced coffee and praline". The burnt cream was revelatory. While it's relatively common to use fruit with it, I've never seen the under-rated prune used in this way - yet another example of the influence of SW France perhaps? The cream itself was exemplary, no stodgy wodge this, but as delicately creamy as one could ask for. I think there was a hint of crème fraîche to heighten the flavour and it was surmounted by the thinnest veil of crisply caramelised sugar. Goodness knows how they made it. The mousse was lovely, with the coffee granité giving a sort of mocha-ish feel to the dish. Smashing. I was a little disappointed by my tart, on the other hand. It was good - very good, but I somehow wasn't quite expecting cherries in a rather heavy pistachio frangipane. I think I expected a rather lighter - more exciting dish. It was perfectly executed - but perhaps the description could have been clearer on the menu. But what sets this meal apart for us was the value for money. Okay, we spent heavily on wines - but the prix fixe menu was £35 for three courses and £30 for two, with an optional 15% service charge added on top. (which DOES get divided amongst the staff). A final touch, the restaurant had prepared individualised Ruby Wedding Anniversary menus for us which we were given. They did us very proud, and honestly I think we wouldn't have eaten better at twice the price at some of the "top name" places in Town. I'm glad chance led us there.
I think you'll find that La Trompette is more an offshoot of Chez Bruce than the Square. Although Nigel Platts-Martin is involved his partner is Bruce Poole. The Ledbury should probably be considered more of a Square offshoot with his partner there being Philip Howard.
Thanks Amol. For me La Trompette veers between a 5/10 and a 6/10 in standard. Each time I think it should really only be a 5/10 I go back again and have a 6/10 meal.
It's Saturday night, and Alkesh and I were up for a big night after a long week. We arrived at La Trompette at 6:30 to start the evening Décor was really nice here. Reminded me of hotels in Tribeca New York. Initial service was fine also. There were about 8 starters, same number of main and same again desserts, all printed on a single side. Nothing fancy here and very easy to navigate. I had the Foie Gras to start, followed by Pork, Cheese and a Pear and Almond tart. Kesh had Duck salad with pouched egg , beef for main, then cheese, then a Cherry Pancake dish. We started with 2 glasses of Champagne, a great, rich, deep red wine, and I had a Sauternes for dessert. First off, the Foie Gras was great. Served with Brioche and a million times better than the French Laundry version. Kesh's salad was excellent to. Perfect pouched egg, I wish mine came out like that. Duck also very good. Mains were also great. The pork was nice and tender, and came with the earth sauce which I very much enjoyed. Cheeses were a bit of a disappointment to be honest. Nothing really worth mentioning. The biscuits were nice, but I think it needed some Jam, honey, grapes or something on those lines. Dessert again was a bit disappointing. I felt my Tart was brought in and tasted a bit 'Sara Lee' esq. They make their own bread here, and it was truly excellent. I had some of the walnut and raisin bread was really yummy. Shame they don't sell it So overall, I thought it was ok. The first 2 courses were great, though the other 2 were not so. I'd say 5/10 more than 6/10 which is printed in the good food guide. I'd happily go again and have a different dessert