Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Dairy

Had the tasting menu at The Dairy for Sunday lunch last week.  It's a bargain at £45 for 7 courses. Each really interesting and identifiably from this restaurant.  Chef Robin Gill has a unique style, dishes were very pretty and texture combinations were wonderful.

Canapé type thing kicked off proceeding.  Hispi cabbage and some kind of cheesy sauce. Pro description there.  It was great though, some crunch and some tang.  Next up came some nocellara del belice olives, never heard of them but they're very green and very good.

First more substantial (using that word loosely, as none of the dishes could be described as large or hearty but that's not a bad thing here) course was the Cornish crab with malted barley and salsify.  Note the bowl, and the plate, very nice indeed, interesting crockery always makes me jealous.

Then came this, perhaps my least favourite of all the dishes, rooftop carrots, goatscheese, oat granola and buttermilk.  The cheese was nice, the rest, I was underwhelmed by.

What followed was one of the most memorable courses of them all, a warm sourdough rye loaf with smoked bone marrow butter, chicken liver mousse and salumi.  I greedily ate half the loaf of bread before realizing we were splitting between 3, it was so good I forgot to be polite.  The middle bowl contains the mousse, that was the one. 

Last of the snacks was the chicken skin, kale and wild mushroom dish, another favourite of mine.  Perfectly cooked thigh meat lurking beneath the kale, so many textures and intense chickeny flavours, this was perfect with the house white we'd ordered.

Swiftly on to the fish section of the menu.  This is Julie girl monkfish (why Julie?  I don't know) served with swiss chard and bonito butter.  Lovely delicate fish with chard leaves, not stalks and a creamy but slightly tart sauce, I was feeling rather smug as we tackled bottle of wine number 2.  What a lovely way to spend a Sunday.

Another fish dish, the Lady Hamilton smoked cod with potato and fresh nori.  I love the inventiveness of the flavours of the dish, but I wasn't sold on the texture combos.  Too yielding and slushy.  The nori was a tad overpowering too.

The next dish took us onto dry land, the Yorkshire venison with beetroot, rhubarb and nibbed cocao sauce was a touch sweet for my liking.  Fruity too of course, with the addition of rhubard (which I love, don't get me wrong) but with the chocolate, it was a bit much for me.  Great meat though.

I insisted that we have the cheese course, and was happily met with very little resistance from my companions.  This is truffled brie on toast, drizzled with honey.  The scent of the truffle was a lot more discernible than the taste, but it's truffled brie for goodness sake, it was obviously brilliant.  £4 supplement for these.  We shared 1 which was ample.

Onto sweet, this is clementine, brown butter and rice.  Citrus sorbet is the ultimate palate cleanser, that's what this was intended to be.  The puffed rice was a nice addition.

There was a choice of the 2nd pudding, salted caramel, biscuits with malted barley ice cream or pear, toasted white chocolate and sheeps milk pannacotta (pictured in the fg).  We weren't so keen on these.  Perhaps the 3rd bottle of wine played a part but the salted caramel was the better of the 2.

I'd witnessed every table around us get a tin box of petit fours at this point of the meal, we missed out but were given this instead, rhubard sorbet with lemon curd and Italian meringue.  It was amazing, I pretended to be upset about the tin, but really I was over the moon that we got this.  Italian meringue is one of my favourite things in the world.  Fact.

We were the last people to leave at around 5:30pm.  We weren't at all rushed and I thought the service was generally pretty good.  The atmosphere is fun and vibrant, I really liked the place and if I were staying in London, it would become a regular haunt.  In Clapham of all places.  A tasting menu this good for £45 is an absolute steal.  Matching wines are available for an extra £35, that is such a bargain I'm kicking myself that we didn't do it.  We ended up spending £70 a head anyway.  You should go there, because I can't, and I want them to do well.

The Dairy
15 The Pavement

The Dairy on Urbanspoon

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