March 28, 2013
Had to make do without our middle child and bf who are still doing a ski season in the Dolomites, but we struggled on regardless. It’s one of those restaurants that you’d miss if you didn’t know it was there. Just a sign above the door on Grosevenor Square. Three of us arrived early and and sashayed in to the bar. Rather funky with jewel-coloured seating, a drinks bar and a sushi bar and lilac neon lighting. The staff were all really friendly, each of them greeting us and smiling as we walked past. Importantly our waiter arrived quickly and brought the champagne to start the evening off.
Once everyone was there and they had sorted our dietary requirments out, the canapes arrived. All so beautifully presented. From salt and vinegar popcorn (yum!), deep fried risotto balls, squid, tuna, beef carpaccio, something with goats cheese inside it……… and all washed down with continuous champagne. How could it get better than this?
Well, it did. We were on the chef’s table in the heart of the kitchens opposite the service station. our waiter, Kevin, was from Sierra leone and was absolutely awesome. Great fun, very knowledgable and easy going. Each of the following ten courses was introduced by one of the chefs and every course had amendements for me (fish allergy) or one of our nieces (Coeliac) so they had their work cut out! The somellier (an Italian) brought us different wine with every course and the obligatory modern insistence on water…
I won’t list every course but for me it is the whole experince that makes this thing special. Hearing about the 18 hour days the staff work every day (apart from those under 18 who do shorter shifts), starting every day at 8 am and finishing when the kitchen is cleaned after the last diners finish, usually around one am. They have an incredibly high turnover of staff not surpisingly and Tristan, the Head Chef is only 28. His second in command 23. Most of the others are even younger than that. Poor little Joey, a chef from Australia, presenting on the chef’s table for the first time, took us through the stunning sushi and we spent the rest of the evening shouting for him in a rising chant. Poor wee lamb. He looked about 12 but was 20. Expect he loved it really. The sushi was a highlight for me as have always avoided it being allergic to all fish. But this was fantastic -I had vegetarian ones and the wasabi blew my head off. The saki that we were given with it was utter shite though. Tasted like petrol and I had to transfer to something more palatable.
The girls got to construct a chicken dish, copying one the head chef made earlier and of course birthday girl won the prize of a Maze apron. Unfortunately we then had to eat their creations, grateful that at least they hadn’t done the actual cooking.
We were presented with an ice cream tasting quiz – ten fabulaous flavourss for us to guess. None of us got orange for fucks sake! Incredible when you have no clues. we sat there being entertained by these fantastic chefs and waiters for over six hours. It was the element of being at the chef’s table that lifted this meal in to the realms of being fabulous rather than the actual dishes. The food was lovely, the wines more than palatable and the company the best. Four plus stars.