Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When in glass houses...

I have been hankering after revisiting The Glasshouse for such a long time, my last visit was many years ago a few hours after a return flight from New York which is never an ideal time for me to really appreciate something special. I do recall however eating copious hunks of very fine bread and the restaurant being almost empty but since they’ve acquired a much deserved Michelin star, it’s a lot harder to secure a reservation. But here we are – me and the ever sparking S and C finally waiting to tuck into a Glasshouse feast surrounded by the expectant buzz of eager diners. Firstly as our waiter is a grateful customer of S and C, we offered a little Champagne aperitif whilst we peruse the menu. It’s a tough decision as there are some real corkers on there. I dither between Cream of garlic soup with Mrs. Kirkham’s cheese croûte or Potato, ham and spring onion cake, Foie gras, confit hare and artichoke terrine with quince jelly and poached pear before plumping for the Warm salad of wood pigeon with balsamic vinegar, deep fried truffled egg.

S went for Endive, beetroot and caramelised walnut salad with buffalo blue cheese and C choose the Crisp sea bass with wild mushrooms on toast, Jerusalem artichoke chips.

S had fond memories of the intriguing caramelised walnuts from prior visits and they were indeed delicious. My starter was one of those show stoppers; you’re eating and catching up with much overdue friends and enjoying your dinner but then realising that this just isn’t tasty but something truly sublime. I am beginning to realise that a golden yolked egg oozing its sunshine river over some fine food can floor me every time.

My first real foodie memory is being asked at my infants school (I am guessing I was five) what my favourite food was and I selected soft boiled eggs and soldiers, maybe this was the beginning of my egg odyssey. My first time of worshipping at the altar of Gary Rhodes was marked by the eye-moistening fabulous poached each inside a fresh ravioli bursting over the roasted vegetables underneath. A dish that after years of attempting to track down (including writing to Gary Rhodes) I was delighted to find it in the wonderful Anna del Conti Amaretto, Artichokes and Apple Cakes and I finally recreated it for myself last year. And yes, it was as good as I remembered! So if I add that to my top five most egg-cellent egg dishes that would be:

- The aforementioned oozy egg ravioli first experienced at Rhodes City and since read about in Jamie Oliver’s Cook and Anna’s seminal book.

- The stunning most diva-esque egg cocotte ever - Joël Robuchon’s egg cocotte topped with light wild mushroom cream served in a martini glass at L’Atelier

- The latest addition to the fabulous canon of Gary Rhodes dazzling egg dishes at Rhodes 24 - roast beef fillet with red wine onions, oxtail hash, and poached egg Béarnaise

- and at the newest Gary Rhodes’ venture - W1 the truly awesome crisp soft egg, morel duxelle and Roquefort truffle toasts

- and now the totally jaw-dropping Glasshouse warm salad of wood pigeon with balsamic vinegar, deep fried truffled egg

It is rather curious, I hadn’t immediately associated these spectacular eggy concoctions primarily with the hands of the genius that is Mr Rhodes but he does seem to have glanced into my soul and glimpsed at the golden yolk therein. And of course he does make exceedingly fine mash potatoes as well.

I’m sure Gary would have been proud of this gorgeous truffled egg, the way the golden elixir merged with the meaty pigeon and balsamic drizzled leaves. S seemed rather delighted by her beetroot and caramelised walnut as was C by his sea bass.

After our delightful starters we tucked into our main courses.

As I spent last night and the day today somewhat immersed in all things porky I leave the fabulous sounding Slow roast pork belly with morteau sausage, black pudding apple tarte fine and choucroute to C who seemed very happy with your choice.

I go for the Roast duck breast with lentils, savoy cabbage and butternut squash, green peppercorn sauce instead which is extremely delicious. And talking of magnificent mash potatoes, The Galsshouse don't let us down on this front either, another one for the select hall of fame.

S enjoyed her Fillet of cod with creamed potatoes, bourguignonne garnish and puff pastry fleurons, which have dinky little pastry crescents and a rich sauce. C has selected a superb Chateau Cap de Mourlin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1998 to enjoy with our meal and we certainly do.

S and I are feeling somewhat full but think we may be able to squeeze in a few morsels of the Prune and Calvados ice cream with shortbread biscuit whilst C avails himself of an impressive array of cheesy comestibles.

It has been a truly fabulous meal, long over due and The Glasshouse definitely deserves three delicate glass forks. I’m not going to leave it so long next time.

1 comment:

TheFatBanker said...

Great review.

I'm so glad you like the Glasshouse as much as I do (my review here). From your glowing comments on the Warm Salad of Wood Pigeon, I might have to reconsider whether I did pick the best starter last weekend - warm, runny egg is sooo good!