|Last Orders||Mon closed, Tue - Sat 9.30 pm, Sun closed|
"The last time we dined here, some three years ago, a Michelin VIP was sitting two tables away, and the chewy beef that was the least convincing element in the meal and was instrumental in our not returning before now was clearly also experienced by her companion. Daniel Clifford kept his two stars, though, and currently keeps getting rave reviews, so it seemed reasonable to give it another chance, and here we go with another rave review! Everything about this visit showed just what some arrivistes need to learn; the welcome was warm, the dining room perfect in all respects, the table very suitably situated with a view of the kitchen, and the staff (mostly French) the epitome of properly schooled, relaxed, engaging and knowledgeable personnel. Once again chef was not in the kitchen, but in this case, just as we have noted in some other top-class restaurants, it did not appear to make the slightest difference to the superior quality of the cooking. The ten course tasting menu no longer exists and has been replaced by a more manageable eight course version, which happily also means a smaller wine flight, and my wife, for the first time in our memories, was permitted to have half measures, a matter for congratulation to Midsummer and an indication of the classy self-confidence this restaurant radiates. The champagne trolley gave us the wherewithal to properly enjoy our excellent canapés of cream cheese balls, smoky beetroot with goat’s cheese and crispy ham hock and piccalilli. A sort of pre-amuse bouche comprising Bloody Mary foam and celeriac sorbet was one of the best ever and really started the palate working. The amuse bouche proper was a dish where the beauty of the appearance, especially the arrangement of the avocado on the plate, matched the lovely taste combination of the crab, the sorrel granita and the avocado. This was succeeded by a dish which was a piece of restrained but effective theatre with super new English asparagus wrapped in foil perfectly cooked in beurre noisette on a heated stone at the table and suitably backed up with burnt onions, mushrooms, and fresh green and pickled asparagus in deep-fried potato with clever cubes of aerated sauce hollandaise; this was a triumph. The next course was a balancing act of Granny Smith jelly, celeriac cooked with truffle to give a whole new taste experience, sautéed scallop, the sweetness of which was beautifully contrasted against a love apple caramel blob and apple batons; another winner. The surprise combinations kept on coming with the super sautéed duck liver with tangerine jelly and gingerbread crumbs prettified by a salad of red chicory and little pear discs and a further occasion to murmur with pleasure. Brill has become a restaurant staple, but the presentation, the perfect fish and the amazing flavours of the razor clams, the stupendous squid ink cake, the cuttlefish and, in particular, the battered samphire left us asking for more. No room for that, though, as we moved on to some splendid, although admittedly French, pigeon with just the right level of gaminess and sprinkled with a sort of puffed wheat crunch, the crispy leg absolutely sensational, and the balance achieved with the morels and the wild garlic a demonstration of high cooking skills. The intriguing pre-dessert was a clever coalescence of blueberries, chocolate and aerated pear with fresh blueberries inside, and this set us up perfectly for our final treat, delicious passion fruit jelly with yoghurt sorbet, and chocolate biscuit and passion fruit meringue as the texture and taste contrast. Our impression was that the style had changed for the better for this was a super experience and we have no hesitation in eating our words and saying that, for us, this was three star category fine dining."
"Saturday diner tasting menu. Some simply amazing dishes here especially to start with but did fade away towards the end though. Service was very good and appropriately engaging however at times the staff seemed in competition with each other rather than working together. Ambience was nice and being in a conservatory worked surprisingly well."
"Absolutely incredible food, I don't think I've ever had scallops that good. Wait staff did an excellent job of looking after us and were surprisingly down-to-earth."
"Far superior to our previous visit when it felt that Clifford was pushing out his Great British Menu successes without much thought to flavour. On the ten course taster menu every course from bar one excellent. Service superb, notably from the sommelier who guided us through the flight of wines from around the world with real charm. Lovely to have coffee in the garden afterwards. Dining room still feels a bit like a furniture village showroom."
"After using this restaurant for many years we stopped coming when they dropped their excellent a la carte, however hearing recent good reports we visited again. We decided on the top, ten course, option, we were not really won over, many courses had many, but to small, patches of flavour to really appreciate. The beetroot baked on open coals, prepared in an expensive barbecue gadget which uses many celeb chefs in their marketing, consisted of a medium size red beet extensivly charred and served with much ceremony as if it were a grouse was nothing to really excite, very little if any flavour had permeated to its centre, the part which was carved and served. Many of the following courses were much better but there was not one dish which really stopped us in our tracks. There are far better and more reasonably priced multi course dinners around.. Many chefs can be seen through the large kitchen viewing mirror and many waiting staff which must be a main cause of the cost. The wine list does have some lower cost bottles though the wine by the glass all hovers around the £15 mark."
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