For the first time ever, we three sisters traveled together. Our destination was my favourite city: London baby!
Being a food blogger, I did quite a lot of research on places to eat good food. I wouldn´t mind dining at a three-star michelin restaurant, but our budget just wasn´t there. Gordon Ramsey´s Maze was early in the running for our (perhaps my) choice of restaurant because of their 25 £ four-course set menu. The feedback on tripadvisor was a bit varied, but mostly quite good, and I know several people who have had a nice experience dining there. My sisters agreed that a nice dinner was something we should do, and I booked a table for three online (oh, I love the Internet).
We had several reasons to celebrate with this dinner. Most important was that this was our first trip together, but my birthday was coming up in just two days, and birthdays require celebrating.
We were met at the door by several lovely people greeting us. A nice lady took our coats and we were shown to our table. We got a bar menu and a recommendation that we should start the meal with a coctail. Unfortunately I don´t remember the name of the drink I had, but it was raspberry, litchi and vodka. Not very heavy and actually not as sweet as it sounds. A nice way to start a great meal.
As mentioned, we wanted to try the set menu. The waiter said that everything on the menu was very good, so she didn´t have any recommendations, but I´ll claim that we did a pretty good job ourselves. You can choose whichever four courses you´d like, savoury and sweet, just savoury, or just sweet. We also chose to have a wine flight with three glasses of wine for an additional 20 £.
We made our order, and a short while after we got bread and butter. As Norwegians we´re spoiled when it comes to bread and butter, but we weren´t disappointed. The butter tasted as back home, and both the white and the whole wheat bread were really good.
Soon after the bread, our wine arrived. The sommelier told us about the wines, and which courses they were meant for. I actually loved the device the glasses hang from, if anybody knows where I can get ahold of one, please let me know.
And then it was time for our first course! I actually got so overwhelmed that I forgot to take a picture before I started to eat. We got a duck and foie gras terrine with black pepper poached pear and sauternes gel. The terrine melted in my mouth, and the poached pear and the sauternes gel just balanced the rich duck and fois gras perfectly. The wine was a white French one, specifically a Tarriquet 2011 Côtes De Gascogne – which is mostly used for desserts, but this was a really good match and worked very well with the terrine.
The next course was crispy chicken thigh with wild garlic pesto, white onion and a burnt leek vinaigrette. To drink we got a French red wine, a Les Grimaudes 2011 Costières de Nîtmes. After this dish I claimed that the next two courses could be of whatever quality, and I would still be happy with the meal in general. My sisters were a bit more moderate, but still really happy with the first to courses and the wine pairing, my oldest sister said that it was the best chicken she ever tasted.
For our third and last savory course we got a braised beef feather blade with pomme purée, shimiji mushrooms and togarashi spice. We left the French wines behind and went to Spain for a Hécula 2009 Monastrell. After the marvellous chicken I was a bit anxious as to whether or not the beef could compete with the chicken. There was no need to be anxious: I can tell you, the beef was excellent, it was so juicy and tender that it melted in the mouth. The pomme purée shaped as a potato was a funny element on the plate.
Last, but not least it was time for dessert. We ordered the clementine parfait with orange polenta cake, Cointreau caramel and clove ice cream. One of my sisters is allergic to almonds and hazelnuts so she got a lemon tart with blood orange ripple ice cream, toasted meringue and orange sherbet. We asked for wine to go together with the desserts as well. For the clemetine parfait we got a Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes 2007, and with the lemon tart my sister got a Lapeyre Jurancon 2011.
But before the dessert came to our table, a waiter came out with a bowl filled with lemons. He said it was a trick to refresh our senses before eating dessert. He poured a liquid (I guess it was water) over the bowl and this is what happend!
Perhaps not the newest trick in the book, but very impressive for three simple ladies. I really loved the scent and the little drops of dew that spread around the table.
And then it was time for dessert! The dessert really completed the already wonderful experience, and the wine just complimented the dessert perfectly.
After we finished eating I got a really nice surprise. A little choclate cake with a birthday candle! I really don´t know what filling it had, but it was delicious.
After this we ordered tea and got some petite fours to go with. It was passion fruit meringue, smoked choclate with walnuts and a jelly-something (at this time I was quite tipsy from all the wine, the drink and the experience itself that I can´t remember what the waiter said).
After finishing we were going to ask for the bill when a nice man named David came up to the table. In the beginning of our meal I had asked if it was okay to take pictures for my blog, which it was. David wondered who it was that wrote the blog, and if we wanted to see the kitchens! I think that my smile went around my head and beyond. We got to see the kitchen, and I took a few pictures. This was when i regretted most that my camera was back home in Norway, and that I just had my Iphone, but I think the picture of us three sisters were really nice. The faces says it all.
We all had a fantastic time and a truly wonderful meal. Next time I´m going back (I´m definitely going back) to take on David advice about booking the chef’s table. Then you actually dine inside the kitchen, and I´ll bet that´s a unique experience.
Since I´m all about prices when I make food I thought it would be fair to say what we paid for this experience. The total came up to 90 £ per person, and for this I would have paid more. Not exactly a place to go if your on a strict budget, but I think it´s quite manageable to save up to.
(Written in english because I promised David, back to norwegian next post)