“I love a tasting menu. Maybe it’s just the greedy girl in me, but I want to try everything.”
Most Londoners and visitors to London have heard of Southbank. They’ve got a vague concept of where it is and what to expect once they get there. The Tate. The National. Restaurants. Buskers. Icecreams.
Northbank however? Yep, just draws a blank doesn’t it?
Not so surprisingly, Northbank is just opposite Southbank on the bank of the Thames. But it’s not a ‘precinct’ as you might expect. This ‘Northbank’ is a restaurant with fabulous views of the Thames, a very lovely terrace and a generous sense of hospitality.
I was invited to check out Northbank by the restaurant itself and the lovely people at Square Meal. The restaurant has just changed over to its May Tasting Menu so they’d invited a few foodie bloggers to check it out and let them know what worked and what didn’t (not much). Sometimes these events can be a bit like sitting next to your cousin’s father-in-law at a family wedding, but on this occasion I had a great evening with a fun crowd, nibbling on some lovely Cornish produce.
I love a tasting menu. Maybe it’s just the greedy girl in me, but I want to try EVERYTHING. I don’t want to miss out on anything. So a tasting menu is a fantastic way of being able to shovel in lots of different food combinations while not risking the belly squelch you feel when you’ve ‘overdone’ it. Very civilised eating indeed.
As there are seven courses there’s always going to be dishes which get gold stars and those on the ‘equal most improved’ list. I loved the wee Carrot Soup amuse bouche. It was gorgeous. Perfectly seasoned with lovely sweetness coming from the carrot itself as well as the fact that it had been roasted with honey. Delicious.
Other stand-outs for me were the Cornish Lamb Rump with Wild Garlic Potato Terrine and the delicious cauliflower puree spiked with a luscious glug of amaretto in the smoked eel dish.
Others enjoyed the Cream Tea Souffle, but it was my least favorite dish of the night resulting in serious food envy over the Warm Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Brownie with Blood Orange Sorbet.
The service was charming and efficient and the cocktails deserve a post of their own –they were seriously yummy. My only wee niggle is a personal. I fear we’ve been wooed but folks cleverer than us into believe that kale is Superman in veggie form. I prefer to liken it to the emperor who has no clothes. What I believe most people think (but never say) about kale is that it tastes like animal feed – which is was – until some clever PR ‘re-branded it’.
So, as you can tell, I’m not a fan. Having declared my bias, I will say it was overused even if you do like the chewy fibrous clump of green. It featured in multiple dishes, either as a component or as a garnish. I felt there could have been a little more variety in some of the dishes. (catch of the day and smoked eel were both served with seaweed crumbs and crispy kale - among other things).
Small quibbles. Nay, minuscule quibbles! I loved the experience sampling the Spring Tasting Menu and will be looking for an opportunity where I can meet friends on the terrace in summer and watch the sun slowly sink into the Thames amid flashes of cerise skies.
One Paul’s Walk,
LONDON, EC4V 3QH