We knew we were having the taster menu from the off, and I ordered a beer as we munched on some freshly made parsnip crisps. I would hope they may in time also get some local beers on too, if owners Punch Taverns will allow. For me this should be part of the terroir concept that I know is so important to Ernst. They have already managed to negotiate some very decent wines, so we will most likely take the wine pairings next time we come.
|Just one more piece....|
Mackerel Cured - celery; shallot and chicken liver. We both adored this dish, beautifully presented, and with an intense taste to match, I hesitate to use the M word again, but in my opinion this wouldn't be out of place in a high end restaurant. Superb.
El Celler de Can Roca, the other at Simon Rogan's The French and this is the third. Our star dish, it had that intense lamb flavour that reminds you of eating it as a child. Fantastic gravy too. I guess you should be embarrassed when they ask you if you want a straw for the gravy, as we were caught taking a swig of it, but not a bit of it. It was too good to waste!
Frantzen/Lindeberg (now just Frantzen,) where the elements are paired down and simplified to just a few. It's just the right amount of creativity now I think. There is a tendency amongst some chefs to use all the latest gadgets and modern techniques, but sometimes the end product suffers as a result. It may look pretty, but its' lost it's way in terms of flavour. I was explaining that I don't really care how something is made, it's just about the end result; the taste. Ernie was saying that he's still using complex perhaps laborious techniques, but for me it's massively improved as the end result is kind of simpler, paired down and more minimal - to put it more succinctly; it's innovative and creative but it tastes good and it really works.
In our opinion, the style of food Ernst Van Zyl is creating here fits perfectly in this new setting, and now he has his A team with him (Danny Ellis whom he trained at Etrop) along with Sarah and Alice, we think everything is in place and he's finally come home.
We know we have.
relaxed. Alice our waitress/barmaid is a real natural.
Atmosphere: It soon filled out and every table was full as we left.
Food: Absolutely Superb.
Star dish: Lamb - Roasted rump.
Soundtrack: Would You Believe in Me: Jon Lucien.