Mel discovers why James Martin's restaurant is busy on a Monday night....
Oh how I long to be back in James Martin's restaurant. Supping on a delectable Pinot Noir whilst gazing into the brick arches trying to master a plan to make the pork belly taste last forever.
This was last night's scene-¦on a Monday. The best Monday Ive had in quite some time.
I had been invited to try some of the new dishes from James Martin's brand new a la carte menu, and yes, they were incredible. Nothing was below a solid 8/10.
We managed to try quite a lot of dishes; 10 in total so will give you the highlight reel starting with that magnificent pork belly.
Chewy, fibrous, salty and sweet wonder. I love any dish that has various plate combos, and this plate had more combination than a padlock. The pork went delightfully well with little diced gems of compressed Granny Smith, it also went very well with the bitter hispi wedge, but the perfect marriage was with the 63 degree cooked egg for an entire hour. Utter utter euphoria.
Equally splendid was the monkfish cerviche that was as pretty as a picture yet gave you a smack round the face with a lemon. The flavour of the meaty fish came through after the citrus fest and was met with crunch from pickled cabbage discs and pumpkin seeds. Look how gorgeous it looks-¦..
Another starter (I love starters) that had me questioning whether the chef was an artist, was the beetroot tortellini. The contrast wasnt just in the look, but in flavour too. Strong blue cheese centre, lifted further by the loveage and crunch of buckwheat. I couldnt see the need for the carrots (other than for aesthetic purposes), nevertheless, this was a real knockout that I wouldnt normally associate with a veggie starter.
Moving onto mains, two stood out. A very clear winner was the Indian spiced sea bream.
Bream is one of my favourite fishes, but I was slightly concerned about the spice levels masking the sweet flesh. Well what do I know?! This was the best fish dish Ive had in ages. An earthy cumin smear, sour lentils from a lime pickle, stunning romanesco and purple cauliflower and perfectly cooked bream. WOW.
Another dish we loved was the lamb main. Tender lamb rump sat very inviting amongst a smokey trio of Roscoff onion petals, purple broccoli and a bubbling pot of potatoes. This was stunning. The lamb was the star of the plate and the accompanying vegetables tied in with this very well - in particular the potatoes that came with the little burnt bits from the bottom of the pan. Sheer delight.
Onto desserts, and I genuinely thought I couldnt eat any more. Not a problem because our excellent host Natalia gave us just the right amount of a pause before approaching with our puds.
It has to be said that Natalia was very good at her job. Great knowledge of dishes with fantastic suggestions for accompanying wines; she was very friendly and approachable and was on point with timing. Service is something I often forget to remark on (which is bad because it's as important as the food), but last night, the whole team were faultless.
My white chocolate and whiskey croissant bread and butter pudding was as much as a mouthful to say, as to eat. This soft, rich dish went very well with an Irish coffee (told you Natalia was good) and I couldnt get enough of it - in particular the whiskey soaked sultanas.
So there we have it. James Martin should be very happy with his team. The food was some of the best Ive ever eaten this year and all were served in a very professional (yet relaxed) manner. It explains why it was busy on a Monday night, even though it's hidden in the Great Northern building.
Go try the new dishes, youll be delighted with what you find!
Posted: Tuesday 4th July 2017
ID: 3606 - 1898