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This temple has always felt off-limits to me as a vegetarian until I clicked on their website, for reasons I can't explain, and saw that they had a VEGGIE MENU! The world's gone mad.
2 months wait for a table and there we were at an unfeasibly early hour for dinner. Not a bad idea though. Bookings seemed to be timed so that no two bookings arrived at the same time. It takes about an hour to read the wine list. We took the tasting menu, so it was nearly 11pm by the time we rolled out of there.
The veggie tasting menu is a riff on the regular one, so they go with the same wine pairing suggestions. Not fancying 7 glasses of wine, our sunny lady sommelier helped us edit our choice from an interesting selection by the glass, and was a likely to agree with our selection as to propose one that was cheaper or more expensive.
While there are some eyewatering bottles on the list, there is a huge and interesting selection under £40. The markup on the wines is not greedy.
The food ranged from very good to amazing. The famous souffle suissesse, paired here with a lovely rounded palo cortado, is unmissable. My carnivorous companion declared it the most memorable dish of the meal. It was not what I expected. I will go crazy trying to reproduce this at home. Their dark bread with their own unsalted butter still drifts into my dreams. The pea veloute was sublime. In all dishes, the flavours of the components were very intense for veg - and the whole then somehow managed to be greater than the sum of these parts. No risottos or pastas.
The tasting portions are suitably small and timed well so you don't emerge stuffed to the gills, though that opportunity certainly exists. At one point, I had to put my glasses on to resolve what was on the plate.
The cheese chariot deserves a special mention. Heaving under the enormous selection. And yes, vegetarian cheeses in every hue - a couple new to me. The elderflower jelly wasn't left off the fantastic vegetarian dessert plate either - it was made without gelatin specially for the veggie plate.
The stars of the front-of-house were our sommelier and the twins. The twins were everywhere and you wanted them to be. Mr Roux did a tour of duty, stopping to chat to absolutely everyone as if duty didn't come into it. A true professional.
The only thing I didn't like was a pricey glass of gevrey chambertin, but I was unsure if it was just me so I let it pass. It was cleared away untouched without comment even though we had hoovered every last molecule of everything else. But it's a minor detail and the ball was in my court.
Amazingly, the bill was less than I was expecting. It was just over £200 each (incl service) for 8 courses + amuses + coffee/petits fours + aperitifs + 4 glasses of wine each (sherry, white, red and a sticky). For food and service of this calibre and a memorable experience, that's pretty good.
Comment on this reader review
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9
Monday, August 31, 2015
My wife and I went for dinner on Wednesday 16th January and had the most wonderful time. Great service, great atmosphere and great food. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough.
Comment on this reader review
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10
Monday, January 21, 2013