A few weeks ago there was an elusive warm day. I ventured to London to meet a friend for lunch and was getting rather overheated. I'd planned my attire for a cold, wet day you see. In order to rectify my perspiring situation I decided to be cultural and went to have a gander around the Saatchi Gallery. It was wonderfully chilled in there; in both temperature and atmosphere. Worth a meander if you're in the area. After a rather confusing start to the lunch where I didn't know if I was meant to be in the garden area or the restaurant I finally found my bearings and sat down for a relaxing lunch.
The menu offered a 'region of the month' section and I chose the London cured smoked salmon to start. There was a much larger ratio of salmon to rye bread and I could probably have done with a few more slices; but then I might have filled up too soon. What I really enjoyed about this, possibly because it brings back childhood memories of playing with your food, was the way the garnish was presented. The five dishes you can see contained: grated egg white, grated egg yolk, shallots, parsley and capers. It was fun to be able to customise your garnish the way you wanted; for me loads of shallots and capers, a little parsley and a sprinkling of egg yolk and white. The only thing missing was a vehicle to be able to stick the garnishes together, a little mayonnaise or crème fraîche would have rounded this of perfectly.
For my main I had salt marsh lamb rump, piedmontese pepper and salsa verde. This was my first ever piemontese pepper (and ashamedly, my first ever anchovy!) and I loved it, could have devoured them all day. Sweet, salty and oily they complemented and cut through the lamb. The lamb was good, quite a bit of fat on it though but as fat means flavour I didn't mind too much. The salsa verde and olive tapenade added a little freshness and depth and both were lovely mixed into some mashed potato. I have found a new friend in the anchovy and will be putting anchovies in everything from now on; perhaps even anchovy shortbread.
For dessert I selected strawberry macaroon with champagne sorbet and strawberry and thyme sauce. When I was in London a few months ago I was fortunate enough to try an exemplary macaroon from Ladurée. It was exactly what I expected; flavourful, chewy and crisp at the same time. It was a bite sized piece of pure escapism. Unfortunately the strawberry macaroon at lunch was as dry as a cracker. Considering it was larger than a usual macaroon I would have expected a bigger margin of error for achieving optimum chewiness. Not to worry though as the macerated strawberries inside the macaroon were lovely, sweet, juicy and fresh. The champagne sorbet was my favourite bit; brilliantly boozy and delicate. If there was any thyme on this pudding it takes a much more sensitive palate than mine to detect it.
I liked the restaurant and considering the location I thought the prices were reasonable. The presentation was appetising without being over the top artistic and they served my tea (and soup) in a glass tea cup. For as long as I can remember I've wanted a glass tea cup and saucer, like the one that Cruella De Vil had in the film. It's something silly but it's what I'll remember about the meal.
This meal was paid for by the restaurant.