It seems very little has changed while I was away. I left for London just over 3 weeks ago after a very heavy snow fall and have arrived back in NY just in time to catch another one.
In the meantime I had the chance to sample some of London’s top eating and see what I had been missing.
Even if it was in an American’s restaurant it is good to know you can still get a good burger in London. This was my second visit to Daniel Boulud’s UK outpost and as with the first it was the stand out service that made me smile. The food was excellent on both occasions, and I loved being able to see the action in the beautiful kitchen, but the warmth of the staff with just the right level of attentiveness was what really made both visits so enjoyable. A special thanks to the waitress who noticed us busily fighting over the last of the chocolate sauce that accompanied our dessert, and glided over with a fresh pot for us to devour.
The menu treads along similar lines based upon smaller sharing plates rather than starters and mains. We greedily set about the menu and began in the delicate negotiations always involved in this style of eating. There are plenty of reassuring name checks including the newish E5 Bakery based in London Fields and the unbelievably good Valenti Olive oil they use (available at Melrose and Morgan) After some tooing and froing consensus was reached.
We happily cleaned all the plates that came our way, but I at least was left feeling a little underwhelmed. Everything was good, but nothing was great. The pork rilette was bland and all I could really taste was an excess of fat. A solid chunk of cod was let down by a limp rather than crispy skin and while the mussels with leek, bacon and cider were good they were nothing to get too excited about. Prawns dressed in chilli and gremolata were pleasing, and the spatchcock quail with pomegranate another step up. All this reminded me that whilst I always enjoyed the food at Terroirs, it was the charcuterie that stood out above all the other dishes.
We all agreed the desserts to be the highlight, which again I found strange as it was always the other way around at Terroirs. A delicious, light vanilla pannacotta was accompanied by blood oranges although lacking in the stated Campari, and the chocolate mousse was devoured in moments.
It was a good meal and I would certainly not run the other way if offered the opportunity to go back, but it lacked any real standout dishes. The service was in stark contrast to Bar Boulud, not bad, just accidental. I feel myself wavering between finding fault where there is none, and not wishing to swoon over simply good fare. The truth is that you would be very happy to stumble across this place but not so excited if you had to make too much effort.