Thursday, February 07, 2008

A very good menu

I’d never actually eaten at the fifth floor Harvey Nix restaurant, the café many, many a time after a day traipsing around the shops in Knightsbridge, but the restaurant had always remained a mystery behind its wall. I read a fellow food blogger extolling the virtue after their recent visit and this had made me determined to add it to my ‘must visit soon’ list. And the final clincher was that whilst perusing the shelves in the food hall a couple of weeks ago, I scanned the tasting menu and salivating at what I saw made a mental note to eat here at the first opportunity.

And T and I are indeed finally here in the newly decorated restaurant, sat at a little table under a blue lit ceiling and surrounded by walls adorned with light tubes. And surprisingly with all those lighting treatments it’s quite dark (sorry in restaurant parlance I guess I should say – ambient). Actually I was marginally concerned about the lighting strips and was worried that a sudden nudge back in my chair might puncture one of the tubes and then maybe we’d have our own firework display. Other than making an alarming scraping noise at one stage, no damage seemed to have been inflicted however. Though to be on the safe side, on my next visit I’d be tempted to sit further aware from those potentially delicate walls.

There were some interesting goodies on the menu but I seemed to be in a meaty mood so started off with the classic Carpaccio of Angus beef piled high with rocket, showered with Parmesan flakes and drizzled with creamy dressing and aged Balsamic vinegar. All very tasty so far!

Next I went for today’s special, the venison. I had spotted the Chateaubriand with truffle pomme purée and Bourguignon garnish but this dish was for two and that’s rather a lot red meat for the usually beef-dodging T so I asked if we could have a side order of the truffle pomme purée instead.

They agreed (as long as I understood it would be a couple of pounds more the their ordinary non-truffle packed pomme purée – as if that would put me off!). The venison was moist and succulent and the pomme purée was truffly good – another one for the mash hall of fame!

For our dessert we cleverly went for the one with the extra illumination, the Chocolate fondue for two. We were delivered a rich unctuous Valrhona chocolate sauce which was delicious and undeniably messy as I discover surprise chocolaty dribbles about my person on the journey home. I am sure T didn’t get any on her elegant cream self though!

Our fondue came with a variety of delicious dunkers, mini marshmallows, toasty cubes, chocolate brownie morsels and fresh fruit pieces. Going for the total chocolate overload, my favourite is the gorgeous chocolate brownies dripping with the yummy sauce; I suspect this is where the mysterious dribbles came from! We weren’t able to finish all that deliciousness but made a fine attempt. We finished off with another round of raspberry cocktails (I just love my Chambord!) in the newly refurbished sleek bar. I haven’t visited their bar for such a long time and was delighted to discover that the old tradition of being pounced on by a swarthy gentleman (?) offering to buy you a drink or seven and afterwards a tour of his palace as soon as you perched yourself on a barstool seem to have died down. That’s a relief! We happily got our own drinks and savoured our wonderful long-awaited meal. And awarded the fifth floor restaurant three ambiently lit forks - just like their Manchester cousin.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Eating my greens

I would normally make my own pasta but it’s not always possible with the rigours of a busy life so I thought I’d try these Garlic & Herb Tortelloni with Boursin from Waitrose. I supplemented these little plump pasta parcels was some verdant florets of tenderstem broccoli and a healthy sprinkling of grated Grana Padano.

They weren’t bad at all, not as good as my own home-made ravioli but then I might be a little biased!