Mr E, Baby E and I went to Skye Gyngell’s new restaurant in the New Wing of Somerset House a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! So much so that we have already booked to go back with family and friends next weekend.
Where to start?!
The dining room is gorgeous. Extremely feminine. Grand but comfortable and not at all intimidating or overbearing. There is a lovely light, fresh, welcoming feel to the place and if you pay attention (which isn’t really the point) you can see that every detail has been carefully thought about, from the beautiful fresh flowers in the toilets to the coffee machine at the bar.
The staff were brilliant. Friendly, accommodating, attentive, knowledgable. Exactly what you would hope for. I even loved their beautifully designed striped uniforms, which I am told are individually tailored.
The menu was full of seasonal Italian dishes. Plenty of options and everything was tempting. As it turned out the simple descriptions of the dishes in the menu did not do them justice. The food was outstanding.
I decided to go for the set lunch option, as the dishes on there sounded just as good as everything else on offer and in what is a pricey restaurant, it was a very reasonable £29.50 for 3 courses. Mr E went a la carte and I made sure I got at least one big mouthful of his choices too!
To start, we had a beetroot salad and the scallops with white polenta and chilli oil. Both simple dishes but executed perfectly, with a wonderful combination of flavours. The smashed up mint in the beetroot salad lifted the earthy beetroot and provided a sweetness to contrast with lemon and bitter radicchio. The scallops were deep and sweet against the delicate, well seasoned polenta, which stood up well against the kick of chilli.
For main, spice rubbed quail with smashed sweet potato and salmoriglio was a real lick your plate clean dish. The sweet potato in particular. It was rich, buttery and again, extremely well seasoned. A modest but delicious dish, in contras to the monkfish with clams, rosemary aioli and bruschetta, which was undoubtedly a dish fit for a banquet.
The desserts were to die for. Mr E had agreed that I could have my pick of the desserts as he was more than happy with the the trio of ice-cream, which came with the set lunch. I went for the warm chocolate cake with candied chestnuts and sweet cream. Rich, sweet, sticky and chocolate based - heaven on a plate. If I was never to eat another dessert again I would be happy that this was my last! The ice cream was also lovely. We had a bit of a fight over the honey and walnut – apparently I was taking more than my fair share! The interesting and varied flavours change daily depending on what is available in the kitchen, often inspired by ingredients left over from savoury dishes that day. What a brilliant idea – waste not, want not!
The verdict? It’s awesome – you should go! For me this is a true 10/10. It is rare that I will chose a set lunch menu and rarer still that I will enjoy it as much as the a la carte but here it made no difference what you ate, it was all fantastic. Add in some excellent service, a beautiful venue and an overwhelming desire to go back as soon as possible and there you have it, the perfect 10.
Monkfish with clams, rosemary aioli and bruschetta
Spice rubbed quail with smashed sweet potato and salmoriglio