The start of my….. erm…. Let`s call it ” Big Birthday ” weekend in London , I really don`t want to talk numbers right now so Ssssshhhhh….sore point. A weekend gastronomic trip around the capitals top of the tree eating establishments.Tasting menus all the way from the start along with accompanying wine flights, just a huge `pig out` where i could forget about hitting `official middle age ` and over indulge in some of the things i`m most passionate about ,food , wine and good friends.
So to kick off the Cumbriafoodie weekend i decided to start with lunch at Alexis Gauthiers restaurant “Gauthier Soho ” a Michelin 1 star French restaurant on Romilly Street.There was an amazing offer on when i visited and apparently they repeat this quite often – It`s a 2 for the price of 1 deal on the menu…..surely not ? I phoned to reserve a table and they did actually ask me if i was having the 2 for 1 deal…..on the Tasting menu …How good is that ? It`s 10 courses and normally runs at £ 70 but whilst the offer is on its only £35…..I honestly don`t know a better deal in London for such an establishment so i snapped their hands off and made my booking on the spot.
Another good reason to visit Gauthier was to sample a dessert i`ve wanted to try for years , the legendary “Louis XV Chocolate Praline ” . I confirmed during my phone call that this dessert was going to be on the menu and immediately started getting excited about experiencing this delight, It`s quite a closely guarded secret actually and there`s not many foodies or chefs on the various internet searches that have actually tried to re-create this recipe…..is it really that secret ? Well yes it is , it`s a Ducasse dessert from Monaco , they dont even have it in his other restaurants…..only theLouis XV Monaco at 26 Euros a slice. Of course Monsieur Gauthier happened to have spent time in the kitchens of Ducasse so the “only” place you`re gonna get this Pud is here…in London and today was the day the ” old man ” was finally going to experience it.
A lovely selection of breads on hand here , warm and only just baked. An unsalted and Tomato butter to heighten the taste experience.
Amuse bouche arrive – Little Gougere and Roasted Lamb if i can remember correctly.Bread and small family estate Olive oil for dipping.
PAN FRIED DUCK FOIE GRAS – Roasted Caramelized Apricot , Ginger Marmalade and a Port Reduction. The Foie gras was cooked to absolute perfection and the accompaniments paired well. The Roasted Apricot however was a little too tart and i lost the flavour of the Foie gras totally. I pushed it aside for a minute and continued to eat….eyes closed and savoured the accompanying wine….a heavenly moment.
SCOTTISH SCALLOPS – Girolles , Garlic & Parsley , Green Reduction and a Coral Dressing. A simple approach with chef leaving the ingredients to do the talking. Well caramelized Scallop on the outside with the inside almost raw , exactly how it should be
SEA BASS AND BABY SQUID - Courgette Tempura , Courgette & Aubergine , Black Ink and Fish Sauce. A beautiful fresh piece of Bass , simply cooked and once again paired up with subtle background flavours. Nothing to distract me away from the fact that i was eating Sea Bass.
SOFT PIGLET BELLY – Glazed baby Carrot, Fondant Leek & Cherry Jam , Pork Jus. The old school classic…. ” I remember a time when Pork actually tasted of Pork ” Cmon , you`ve all heard that one liner before…. Well this is the dish.
CHEESE – 22 Month aged Comte from Jura.
RASPBERRY – Fresh Raspberry & Fraises des bois , Soft blanc Manger & Cispy Milk. A refreshing summer palate cleanser before the main event. Fraises des bois meaning - “Strawberries from the woods ” small, delicate berries which come from forests, where they grow in the wild , very intense in flavour they command the highest of prices and that obviously reflected in the flavour of the dessert which we ate.
THE LOUIS XV – The legendary “Worlds best dessert ” Dark Chocolate Praline. – Here it is , simplicity itself , no frills , no accompaniments and straight to the point….a bar of chocolate. Starting at the base layer it consists of a Hazelnut Daquoise feuilletine ( a nutty meringue ).Sitting on top of this is a rich Chocolate mousse coated with a Silken Paradise Chocolate ganache and finished off with a glittering crown of edible gold leaf. It was voted by a panel of critics as the “Worlds best” so i cant argue with that one. On a personal note , it was rich , it hit the mark and it was bloody lovely but….worlds best dessert ?
So , to sum Gauthier Soho up… Well for a start , definitely get it on your list of places to go. The cuisine isn`t cutting edge but there again its not meant to be , its not what the restaurant`s all about. Its just very well sourced and extremely fresh ingredients cooked very accurately and simply by fantastic chefs with lots of passion and care.Its a very enjoyable fine dining expereince and at a bargain price that cannot be missed. Make sure you take advantage of their 2 for 1 deal when it`s running , it really would be criminal not to go.
FULL SET OF PHOTOS FROM THE MENU ARE HERE.