This has to count as one of the more imposing entrances I have been to in recent memory.
The branch handles on the glass doors were kind of weird. They also screamed sophisticated restaurant. Just in case the nature of this eatery wasn’t so readily apparent, see the little plaque to the right of the door, proudly hosting a star.
When I sat down, I felt that this was a place that screamed Michelin dining to the high heavens. When I had come in the door, I was immediately confronted/welcomed by no less than 3 staff who were eager to help me in any way they could.
Once I was seated, I was treated to immaculate placings. From the rather interesting plates.
To the potted ball on my table. I did idly wonder if I should try having a bite of this but I resisted in the interest of propriety.
Crisps. Of many things, too many to count. Well, at least too far beyond a humble eater like me. Crunchy and savoury, these were a delight. I did worry that this was in replacement of the bread but such fears were unfounded.
Breads. Olive oil and salt on the side. Even though I usually prefer butter on the side, I found these rather excellent.
Cauliflower three ways, puree, solid, and shredded and fried. An interesting combination, reminds me of dishes I have had in Sketch, where it might be duck served 5 ways. There are only so many ways to slice a vegetable (as opposed to a duck), so this dish has ingenuity and creativity abounding.
Yellow fin tuna tartare with soy, ginger and coriander.
Fresh wasabi. The tuna was the highlight of the meal. The meatiness of the tuna and expert seasoning with fresh wasabi brought me back to happy culinary days in Japan. Even in Japan, most of their wasabi is fake. Almost everywhere you try it, it is actually dyed horseradish, yet if you try hard enough, you can find the real thing, like when I visited a wasabi farm. That was where I found the real deal and learnt that being slightly too generous with the genuine article does not have that side effect of streaming eyes and burning throat. It actually doesn’t hurt at all.
I subsequently spent most of my meals in Japan trying to figure out if the green stuff was real or not. That involved much pain so I do not recommend it. Yet, this is the authentic article, so if it is worth visiting Texture, it might be just for this.
Cornish skate, hispi cabbage, lovage and rye bread. Delicate flavours, soft fish flesh, crisp seared outside, crunchy rye bread and soft greens, this was again rather good.
Creedy Carver chicken breast, thigh, girolles and english sweetcorn. The chicken was ok. I have always found chicken breast to be something of a culturally divisive issue. In the western world, it is seen as the single most important part of poultry. In the east, rather less so. Perhaps because of my cultural upbringing, I find chicken to be a bit dry and lacking in substance. Especially when not doused in sauce. So although this dish (excluding the chicken) was rather good, I thought that sadly the breast brought it down.
Petit fours, coconut and chocolate.
This restaurant ticks all the boxes of the Michelin man and then some. The service was impeccable (when you bring a small footstool for my companion’s handbag, you know you are in a special place). The little extras unexpected and welcomed. The plating of excellent standard. The decor, suitably imposing. If you are looking for a smooth and fairly swanky destination to wow your friends, this would be it. That is, if you manage to get past the front doors.
A quiet eating 7.5/10.
Lunch (2 courses) was GBP29 excluding drinks and service.
34 Portman Street, Marble Arch,
London W1H 7BY