10th December 2016 7pm
A few of us get together every Christmas and have a lovely meal somewhere. We decided we wanted some Michelin starred goodness, so got ourselves along to Kitchin. I hadn’t been to Kitchin since it had it’s refurbishment and it have to say it’s looking lovely. On arrival our coats and bags (full of exchanged Christmas presents) were taken and we were given a key in exchange so we could collect everything quickly on our exit. We arrived a little early so we were shown to the bar area to have some drinks, nibbles and peruse the menu. The bar area was warm, with a fire going and the seating was sumptuous. We orders some cocktails and we’re given some crisp breads with a cheese dip. We even got some cute little pop out hand towels as one of the crisp breads had a sticky coating. The crispbreads were tasty but not too filling. Just enough to keep you going until you were eating at your table.
We were shown to our table, passing the kitchen (where you could see Tom Kitchin at the pass) to find ourselves pleasantly nestled in a nice corner. We had decided to choose the seasonal tasting menu and immediately started salivating. Whilst we waited for our first course to come out, we were presented with little maps showing where food from the menu was sourced. We also had a small loaf of bread for the table to share. This was light, with a superb crust. When we tore it open, steam rose up and the butter melted perfectly on the soft bread. There was a small problem of the lace on the sleeves of my dress catching on the place mats – they need to sort that out!
Firstly we were given our amuse bouche, which was cold carrot veloute with ginger, lime and apple, with delicately small pieces of vegetables scattered on the top. I love a veloute but had never had a cold one. I am pleased to report that it was delicious. You could taste every element; nothing was lost. A great start.
Then we moved onto mackerel tartare with winkles, brown shrimp, seaweed and croutons. This was a strong flavoured dish, which may not be to everyone’s taste but we lapped it up. They cleverly used the seaweed to help season the dish. Everything on the plate was miniature, including the incredibly tiny croutons. Around the outer rim of the dish was ice, to keep the fish at a cool temperature. It served as an attractive setting too. A solid dish.
Then, I was excited to see the next dish was sweetbread. I had sweetbreads a few years ago at Kitchin and had not had the opportunity to have them again since. They were absolutely divine (and a highlight for me). Alongside the sweetbreads were ox cheek, bone marrow, onion, onion purée, assorted nuts and veal jus. Every element on this dish sung. The bone marrow melted on the tongue. The onion elements brought everything together. It was just a shame the serving size meant I couldn’t savour it for long, but needs must on a tasting menu.
Next, we moved onto the fish course of sea bass, cauliflower purée, cauliflower florets, mussel, shrimp and an emulsion of vegetables, wine and butter. This was beautifully plated. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaking easily. The purée and emulsion worked together very well and unified the dish.
We then had hare with hare cannelloni, beetroot, beetroot purée, root vegetable purée, apples, carrot, sprout and topped off with a hare sauce. I’d not had hare before and I think was closer than venison that rabbit. It had a wonderful gamey flavour. The cannelloni was nice, using more hare as part of the filling. The vegetables and purée added a lovely complimentary flavour.
We then had a palate cleansing pre-dessert of blackcurrant sorbet, yoghurt mousse, homemade granola and apple and blackcurrant compote. The flavour of the sorbet was very strong and sharp. However, the yoghurt mousse balanced it out perfectly. The crunch of granola added enough texture.
Our final course – dessert – was plum crumble soufflé with vanilla ice cream. This was amazingly light. There was rise above the rim of the dish, which is always pleasing to see. The plum compote was lovely, not being too sweet or too sharp. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was just the right consistency and worked well with the soufflé.
We had tea and petit fours and then departed, feeling very satisfied.
Food – 10/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 10/10
Value – 9.5/10
Overall – 39.5/40
Would I eat here again? Yes, as soon as the bank balance will allow!
Cost just over £330 for three tasting menus, three cocktails and a bottle of wine.