1 Blenheim Terrace, St John's Wood
Among many food critics and bloggers, there are two whose reviews I read religiously. One is Giles Coren of the Times, who publishes his weekly restaurant review in the Saturday Times magazine (and whose positive reviews render the restaurants unreachable to the general hoi-poloi public like myself for the next 3 months). Another one is LondonEater. He is a food blogger and photographer who is either overpaid or has some kind of family money, because he eats out at fabulous places all the times. And I mean all the times.
In LondonEater's recent reviews, he reckons that there are 2 restaurants in London that are underrated and under-appreciated. One is Odette's in Primrose Hill, and another one is 1 Blenheim Terrace in St John's Wood. So a few weeks ago when I spotted a Groupon voucher for a 10-course tasting menu at the restaurant, I bought it straight away. And the lunch was scheduled.
The full price for the tasting menu was £55 per person, but I got the voucher for £60 for two (I hope I remember this correctly), which was such a bargain. We were also given a glass of bubbly each, and as I am now teetotal, my fiance was entrusted with the task of drinking up my share of bubbly, which he gladly undertook. The wine list was not so much of a bargain, tho. But hey, it's a classy restaurant.
We started with scone with Cornish clotted cream and caviar. Quite a genius combination, as the saltiness of the carviar added a nice savoury touch to the slightly sweet scone. The clotted cream brought the whole thing together as it almost melted into a thick sauce on the warm scone. Good start!
Second course was Heritage Beetroots & Goats Curd. My fiance was not a fan of Beetroots, but he polished up the whole thing. Goats Curd in particular was very rich and creamy, and had a smoother texture than Goat Cheese. I like!
From another angle. I'm not a big fan of that thin raw piece of beetroot on Goats Curd - it was a bit chewy and I didn't like that taste of raw beetroot.
Third course - Pea Shoot Soup, served with devilled whitebait. We loved, loved, loved the thin batter on the whitebait, which was as light as a feather and oh so crispy. The soup was less memorable. It's a good pea soup.
Fourth course - Roast Black Leg Chicken Risotto, with sage crumble. Quite good. Very nice gravy and the rice was correctly al-dente. The crispy chicken skin on top added a contrast of texture to the dish.
Fifth course - Sea bass with ratatouille lentil. The fish was nice, but I barely touched the lentil as I found it slightly boring. It's a different league from a good ratatouille from any respectable cafe in Paris.
Sixth course - Roast Middle White Pork Belly, with crispy quail egg, white bean puree and red wine reduction. Soft and flaky pork belly, with a layer of fat that was not too thick. Unfortunately my quail egg was overcooked, but the one on my fiance's plate was just right - gooey on the inside. The dish would have been much better if the chef chose more exciting accompaniments than white bean puree and pea shoots.
Seventh course - Innes & Gunn jelly, with whiskey ice cream. So we now move into the realm of desserts and sweet treats. It was OK. At the end of the day it's just jelly and ice cream.
Eighth course - Dark Chocolate Brownie with Malt ice cream. The brownie was a bit too dense, so I didn't finish it.
Ninth course - White chocolate & raspeberry cheesecake. Nice enough, but not much else to say about it. We reckoned that this dish should have been replaced with a nice cheeseboard. Then the meal would have been perfect.
The final course was tea/coffee and chocolate truffles.There were 4 to start with...
Overall, we had a very good time. All dishes were well prepared and the seasoning quite spot-on. The only thing standing between this meal and perfection was that some dishes were quite boring (even if they looked good).
But when we were there, we saw dishes from ala carte menu that looked absolutely mouth-watering. So we will return next time for a taste of their full menu. Can't wait!