I hadn’t been threatened before. Well, not quite like this and I must confess I was scared. Maybe it was the menace behind the man’s eyes that showed that he was serious that convinced me that I needed to heed his words. Being a natural born coward, I didn’t see that I had a choice to comply with his request.
“write up this restaurant, revive Doctorlunch or there will be serious consequences”.
I must admit to being somewhat surprised. Hugh Wellington-Livermore is normally such an amenable Lunch companion. But I knew his history. He had cut his teeth in the tough heartland of the Glasgow docks. He knew…people. Not the kind of people that you would want to lunch with, more the kind that would give you a new pair of concrete boots after putting a pick axe in your skull.
I knew that Doctorlunch must rise again. Just like Dracula…or does he ride? or was that Destry? Oh bother, the old brain is not as sharp as it once was. So here I find myself writing my first review in aeons.which will result in a distinct lack of new footwear and an intact brain box. So, harrumph….here goes..
It has been such a long time and with this godforsaken virus, is it any wonder that the creative flow of your dear Doctor dried up like the rivers of the Western United States. An endless barrage of stories about “Brian” the sourdough starter or Fortescue’s new take on rice pudding would have you reaching for the delete button faster than Donald Trump could post another tweet. Oh, sorry he can’t do that anymore can he. Should you be vaguely interested in Fortescue’s rice pudding recipe it goes something like this.
- Read the recipe
- Prepare the ingredients – rice, sugar, milk.
- Add some random, very large multiple of one of the three ingredients
- Sit back as your guests amaze at the variety as you produce a variety of rice bricks. rice soup or sweet, hot milk.
Ahem, I digress. Back to lunch. Yes, of course it was lunch. There we we were in Pollen Street Social, just off Oxford Street. An establishment owned and run by the famous Mr. Jason Atherton who has a global plethora of uber swish restuaurants to his name. We elected to have the three course menu at £55. Expensive you think? Read on my dear reader!
The food? Oh my, was it good. That is a statement not a question. Otherwise there would be a question mark at the end of the sentence. Wouldn’t there?
It was breathtakingly good. As each of the five amuse bouche arrived our three course lunch, we both were drawn further into Mr. Atherton’s dark web. A clever take on “fish and chips” was a big chip with a wonderful salty, malt vinegar coating and a fish mousse on top. Then there was a delightful ravioli. A small cup of mushroom “soup”. A tart topped with roe sitting on top of an intriguing box. Lifting the lid of the box revealed yet another amuse bouche of a small biscuit shaped like a leaf with a sliver of salmon. It was all so delicate, yet very tasty and a complete surprise.
Then there was the bread. A large chunk of brown sourdough with an ultra crunchy crust. At this point, we were both be floating somewhere close to Nirvana. Mr. Atherton’s web was closing around us.
Our first course finally arrived. We both had selected the crab and lobster risotto hidden beneath a sea of white foam. We both dived in…Oh my, oh my, oh my…the first mouthful was so good. The risotto was swathed in a light, extremely tasty bisque and this time we were in heaven. This was a substantial portion and every mouthful was as good as the first.
“would you like some more bread, gentlemen?” – bloody stupid question.
Second course….I had the rabbit. Hugh, the fish. Both immaculately presented and we were both very pleased with our choices. Then the surprise sorbet before dessert. More ice cream than sorbet; melon flavour but complemented by a small amount of lardo. That should not work, but then if you are in Mr. Atherton’s clutches it is another masterpiece of invention. The waiter pointed out that it was meant to resemble melon with parma ham. Which was exactly right. Well done sir!
Desserts…just look at the pictures. They tasted as good as they look. Then finally with coffee, the most wonderful peits fours. Except, they were actually petits fives as you can see in the picture. Mr Atherton had us both firmly trapped in his web.
We looked at each other and reflected on what we had both eaten. Possibly one of the finest meals we had ever had. Hugh posited that it was better than our favourite restaurant, Le Gavroche. That statement was sacriliege. Le Gavroche is a citadel of gastronomy, second to none! Sacre bleu!!
I sat back and reflected for a millisecond. “yeah, you’re right” I said. “hands down, no contest”.
I shall return soon. In fact I am already booked in! I just need to land back on earth and hope that this pleases monsieur Hugh Wellington-Livermore.
Pollen Street Social
8-10 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London W1S 1NQ