12th November 2016 7pm
After sitting on my wish list for a while, we finally got to visit Atelier. A small-ish restaurant on Morrison Street, it has a cosy feel. After perusing the menus we decided to go with their 8 Moments Discovery Journey – essentially a tasting menu of 8 courses. A matched wines option is available but we decided not to go with that.
We started with some bread and then our amuse bouche of butternut squash with seeds arrived. This was full of flavour, velvety, of a cool-ish temperature with great texture added by the seeds. This was a lovely way to start the journey. In a way it was a bit of a shame it was an amuse bouche as I could have eaten much more of it.
The next course was sea trout. The fish was cooked at 37 degrees and was served with citrus salad, cucumber and wasabi crème fraiche. The trout was lovely and worked beautifully with the wasabi. The dish was cleverly balanced and danced on the palate. Although I was never going to be won over by cucumber (evil) my friend assured me it was good.
Onwards to the quail. This was roasted and served with sauerkraut, parsnip purée and a parsnip crisp. The quail, which can often be dry, was wonderfully moist and packed full of flavour. The sauerkraut was a surprisingly nice element and the parsnip had a lovely earthiness to it, which worked well with the scattered lardo. The crisp was a little soft but was only a minor misstep.
The next course was stone bass. This came with shellfish in a bisque, potatoes and kale. The fish was perfectly cooked and the prawns were juicy. The bisque has immense flavour but didn’t overpower the other elements on the plate. Everything was harmonious and a joy to eat. This was one of my friend’s favourite dishes of the evening.
Next up was sirloin and oxtail. Strips of pink sirloin were draped across truffled celeriac, with a small oxtail tartlet on the side, finished off with an architecturally placed spear of carrot. The meat was beautiful , so tender it melted in the mouth, and worked with the oxtail well. The celeriac was divine. A touch of crunchy kale, along with the carrot stopped the dish from tipping too far. My friend’s aversion to pink meat meant it was a struggle for her to look at but she actually enjoyed the dish very much. I am thinking of bringing a blindfold for her the next time she has to eat rare meat.
We then had the first of two desserts. The first was a roast apple parfait. This was a little firm but delighted my tastebuds. The parfait was accompanied by some very tart pieces of apple, shortbread, a sorbet and gin and tonic foam. It was a triumph of a dessert as the flavours worked together so well and kept each other in check.
The last course was another dessert – this time a bitter chocolate cake with a chocolate cremeux, caramelised white chocolate and a passion fruit and orange sorbet. My dining partner and I liked different elements of this dessert – she liking the less sweet elements and I loving the chocolate – but agreed when placed all together in our mouths, it just worked.
After finishing, we were given petit fours and my dining companion had cup of tea, which rounded off the evening well.
Texture was something Atelier revisited all the way through the courses which demonstrated that the menu was put together thoughtfully and upon reflection, was really something quite special. Atelier offers an incredible menu at a very reasonable price.
Food – 9.5/10
Service – 8.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 9.5/10
Overall – 35.5/40
Would I eat here again? Yes, hopefully many times
Cost £115 for two 8 course tasting menus plus one glass of wine