Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bonds, city Bonds

Bonds is one of those restaurants that I've walked past a few times and I thought it had potential and I've suggested it as a possibility for others looking for a likely eating spot around Bank station. When L and I decided to grab a bite to eat on the spur of the moment I feared we'd struggle a little on a Thursday night. Thursday being the new Friday in the city, it can be a bit of a challenge. I'd already used up all my restaurant reserving patience trying to get a place for American E and American J to entertain clients. Blueprint Café were having a private function, as was Pont de la Tour. Chophouse and Skylon could only do too early and Rhodes24 was completely booked. I'd eventually plumped for 1 Lombard Street for them but hadn't even considered a restaurant for myself. The first place we tried was way too noisy after the collectively stressful days we had both endured this was not going to work so we tried The Ballroom. That was of course closed for a private function. I scanned my mental restaurant rolodex and reckoned if we walked a little further they’d be Bonds; a bit more we could try the Mezzanine at the Royal Exchange or maybe cross over the road and try Coq D’Argent. But our next port of call came good and it was such a relief to discover the calm oasis of Bonds and find they had a table for us far from the maddening hoards (aka their bar!)

The tables are not too close together but you also get little half curtains to give the illusion of privacy if required. The menu has enough choice for an awkward palate and maybe a tad too many good things for the chronically indecisive. Actually it’s a good looking menu I deliberate between the oak smoked eel fillet, slow cooked belly of pork “porchetta”, asparagus with Joselito Iberico ham but choose the poached egg dressing chicken liver and foie gras parfait with mango pain d’epice mousse. And I was pleased I did, it was unctuously smooth and fabulous, soothing after a frantic day and as L had initially waived his right to a starter when the creaminess started calling to him; there was enough to go round.

The mains or ‘then’ as they called it had another collection of likely suspects – the roast magret de canard with gratin Dauphinoise looked promising (I wonder why that could be?), poulet fermier served with potato gnocchi and morel cream another possibility as also did the fillet of Aberdeenshire salmon with peas a la Française and potato cocotte (possibly a potato theme happening here), chump of Elwery Valley lamb with boulangère potatoes but stunningly I opted for mushroom and truffle risotto galette with soft poached egg, truffle green beans, asparagus, frothy mushroom cream. Look no potato! And it was sublime, a dense soft risotto cake with earthy truffle, soft runny poached egg and perkily topped with a Parmesan hat. It was a good portion of risotto, as much I love risotto I never want too much.

I thought I might be able to squeeze in a few mouthfuls of the warm chocolate ganache and caramelised milk ice cream. I guess I’m following my usual egg followed by chocolate rule! The base was crushed biscuits and nuts, very good and a delicate portion on a glass plate. Another extremely elegant dish!

I really enjoyed our meal at Bonds, it had a bit of a hotelly feel but then it is, it’s part of the boutique hotel Threadneedles and they do it very well. If I was feeling in the mood for a cocktail or two perched on a barstool I am sure I would have enjoyed the atmosphere in the bar but I enjoyed the sophisticated tranquillity of the restaurant. Not bad at all for not booking on a Thursday and to think how many calls and bookings I’d had to make to get a destination for the E and J, I wonder how their meal went.

I think two Bond style forks for Bonds, I would definitely return and as I Have been recommending it to others untried, I am relieved my foodie instinct had been correct.

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