This was the secret location I have been keeping from Browny for weeks. To mark the end of January, I decided we should celebrate by going out somewhere special for dinner.
I stumbled across Tom Ilic's new restaurant purely by accident and by judging the reviews, I thought it was definitely worth a try. For us this a local... and a bloody good one at that!
The decor and style might not be to everyone's taste, but no one can argue about the superb qulaity of food and service. For a Thrusday night the place wasn't heaving but certainly full enough to create some atmosphere. We were dining on the toptable offer: 3 courses plus a glass of bubbliy for £23... what a bargain.
I have to admit I had been studying the menu for weeks, yet still I couldn't decide what to have! After much deliberation I opted for a trio of salmon... cured, baked and tartare. The entire dish was light, elegrant, busting with flavour and delivered an excellent contrast in textures. I was thrilled with my choice. As was Browny who opted for a very earthy and manly sort of dish.. Pigs cheeks with chiozto. Again it was cooked perfectly, exploded with flavour and not at all fatty or greasy. All in all, a great start.
For main, in hindsight I probably should have gone for the lamb. My breast of mallard was very good, rosy pink inside, but due to the nature of the bird it was slighty on the tough side. Browny on the other hand chose an absolute winner and a signature dish of Tom Ilic. It was pork belly with jerusalem artichokes, scallops, honey and hazelnuts. It was truly sensational...
(Browny):"... that was one of the best things I have ever eaten! I did everything but lick my plate clean."
Enough said I think!
The puddings also did not disappoint. My lemon tart was oozing with subtle citrus flavour and the texture was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Browny's chocolate fondant was naughty, wicked and heavenly... everything you would expect from such a classic.
Because the food bill was so reasonable we decided to make the most of a decent bottle wine. It was delicious. Light and very fruity. A bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc that tasted of passion fruit and smelled of lyche.
To top off a great evening off, we were lucky enough to meet the man himself, who came out to chat to us after his epic performance in the kitchen. We were immediately taken by his cheerful, charming, honest and reflective nature; a very talented chef and thoroughly nice man.
We often rave and get excited about the places and restaurants we've eaten in, but this one has to be in my top 3. On a food front I really a barley think of a single bad thing to say about it.
So please, do the right thing and go and see for yourselves what a tresure this place really is.