If you have a look at the website for the Jumeirah Carlton Tower London in Knightsbridge, there is a great photo of an impeccably dressed doorman, quintessential moustache in place `doffing` his top hat in what I assumed was a staged photo
But no, how wrong I was! Just as in the photo the very same doorman was there to welcome us at the entrance. This is just the kind of subtle touch that was the precursor to a memorable evening. Whether your first visit or just your latest stay, once he pushes the revolving door, it feels like you’ve been here before, comfortable, welcoming, embracing – where did I put my pipe and slippers?
My dining companion and I had chosen to try the British Experience at the Legendary Rib Room. A tasting menu of eight courses created by Executive Chef, Simon Young, who with the finest British Seasonal ingredients and fresh herbs from the kitchen garden on the roof has designed a feast that sums up everything that is great about British produce.
Blown away- What a way to start! A glazed Loch Fyne angel oyster with buttered leaks and Champagne Sabayon. Now, you either prepare and cook an oyster just so or you don`t. This was just so right, to the point where I momentarily considered a raid on my companions` plate. The dish was complemented perfectly by the beautiful, low volume, Balfour Brut Rose 2005 from the Hush Heath Estate in Kent. Known as `the lightest of pinks`, it is fresh, crisp and light with hints of strawberry and raspberry on the nose leading into a delicate finish.
Oh my, where do we go from here?!
Next up was the Gressingham Duck, warm lightly smoked breast with a pair and golden raisin chutney. The duck had a perfect thin layer of fat superbly counter balanced and cut through by the fruity chutney.
Dish three was Hand dived Scottish Scallops with slow cooked Belly of Pork with an orange and ginger dressing. I had been really looking forward to this one, two of my all time favourite ingredients together, bliss! Again, beautifully presented and executed. The fat from the pork had been rendered through the meat leaving it moist and full of flavour, lightly caramelised on the outside. The scallop was lovely but not quite as perfectly cooked as everything preceding it, just not as melt in the mouth as expected but still bursting with flavour.
Dish four was a London Gin and Tonic Sorbet. I had thought about a G&T before dinner as it had been a beautiful warm spring evening but the soupsant served before the beef made my abstinence worthwhile, a perfect cleanser!
The Chef, we were told recommends the Buccleuch beef to be cooked medium rare, can’t complain, having tasted this dish the man certainly knows his cow! The oxtail parcel was both a surprise and a delight!
This was also served with a 2005 Cabernet Merlot, a lovely rich and velvety wine with plenty of depth and character notes of cassis.
Next on the menu for course five was the selection of British Cheeses, also a highlight for us, three of the finest examples available, Celtic Promise, Stinking Bishop and an Isle of Mull with home made relish and walnut bread.
The 2007 Gewurztraminer served with this dish, and the next felt like a bold choice, it’s vibrant almost effervescent! Does it work? Definitely! It`s enlightened and makes perfect sense. It works with a `smelly` Stinking Bishop just as seamlessly as it does a more fragrant Celtic Promise.
For course Six the menu detailed ‘a tasting of English Rhubarb and custard’ an image of my school dining room and it’s culinary hell sprung to mind, wrongly, I now know, given the style and imagination put onto this selection of three perfectly executed individual marvels!
If I could have a gripe, and it is very difficult to have one having dined at The Rib Room, we could have benefited from a short rest before the coffee and sweet meats arrived.
However, with over riding certainty this was as ‘fine’ a dining experience both in terms of the elegant, knowledgable and understated service and exquisite food as you will get in London.
The British Tasting Menu celebrating all that is great in British produce enjoyed on St Georges day – just about perfect!
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