Since my last post I have been maxing out on food orientated opportunities, so much so that the excesses created a metabolic pause and a scribing hiatus. But with my face in a metaphorical bucket of icy water and frosty trickles dribbling down the back of my neck I emerge shivering but spritely after the long weekend.

My four days of food started last Thursday when I lunched at Corrigan’s Mayfair, dinnered at Huong-Viet. While Friday Saturday and Sunday all revolved around alfresco coking. BBQ-esia, at this time of year, is fast becoming a pandemic, the neighbours spread the spores of char-meat over the garden fences and whole postcodes can become embroiled in a greasy fiesta.

Nevertheless, excited as I was about Corrigan’s, the £23.50 three course menu (including 250ml of wine) sounded too good to be true. Mr. Corrigan has been heaped with praise of late, apparently ‘the food reinvents tradition and move[s] it forward without ever seeming modern for the sake of it’….

The decor is reminiscent of a 1920’s ocean liner-cum-shooting lodge. Tectonic shiny surfaces duel with silhouettes of hunting gents and woodland creatures punctuated by feather laden lamp shades – not the sleekest or intimate of venues but it probably functions better at night. The service was attentive, relaxed and not pushy in upselling wine; as is common when diners have opted for the set menu. Mr. C was there and bounded through the restaurant at one point but I hear that it his erstwhile cohort Chris McGowan who heads the kitchen team in Mayfair.

I chose the parfait, the chicken and the blue cheese mousse. Nothing was gobsmacking, the chicken was wickedly poached and juicy and the peas were really fresh but I only had one bit of samphire! The others had the cod and was probably a better all-rounder more complicated with a bit more sex appeal. Really nothing worth a rousing torrent of prose and why should there be at under £25 a head?

The pudding of pear jelly and blue cheese mousse on the other hand does get some word count. Served in a v-shaped bowl and garnished with watercress this was the love child of Mr. Dolcelatte and Mrs. Airplane-jelly. In appearance it was deceptive; the peppery frilly cress and oaty biscuit tuile perched above a cloudy jelly suspending pear lumps seemed harmless enough; a passive jelly with an odd but attractive garnish. But lurking in wait was an incredibly salty squirt of blue cheese mousse with a bluish tinge. I can see that the attempt was to provide a more savoury alternative to the chocolate fondant (akin to a cheese plate) and indeed pear and blue cheese is a tried and tested partnership. But the collision and confusion baffled and was left unfinished. On an otherwise safe set menu the cheese and jelly serves as a quirky aside to add a (unsuccessful) twist and it was trying to be ‘modern for the sake of it’.

Its difficult to feel hard done by after only spending £150 for four including service in one of London’s newer food spots. But this was trumped by my visit to Huong-Vioet the very same calorific day. Next post to come….


Fat Les said...

Wonderful write-up! No, you haven't put me off going but I shall avoid the Set Lunch. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Way off! The blue cheese mousse is incredible. Not a patch on the rhubarb souffle on the a la carte which is, without resorting to hyperbole, perfect.