This was done as a live description and some minor editing so it may sound a little strange.
A bit cramped in terms of table arrangement. A stack if napkin is ‘served’ on a tray and you pick one (they are all the same). The Austrian white wine is way too acidic for now. The bread is a slice of very soft baguette with herb and spice mix which brings a different flavour at every bite. In fact, it is not so much a baguette but a focaccia.
The first course of winter risotto of gruyere cheese, caviar & button mushroom, garlic confit, smoked salmon, cottage cheese, with an aubergine & coriander puree, chive & olive oil. Long title and they are all there. Small portion but there is a substantial size of each; also a small spoon helps. It is overwhelmingly fishy but fought off by the cheese and garlic with the texture of risotto and crisp button mushroom in the background. Although I usually prefer my food simple, I am always impressed with an overt amount of ingredients and manage to make it works, this certainly does. The wine has mellowed and drinking better. But it is still too acidic against the cream.
There comes another minute portion of soup with a small spoon. Layers of vegetables/fruit starting from the bottom: fig, chestnut, carrot, celeriac and tomato, surrounded by a creamy, foamy potato soup. The chunkiness of the vegetables is a surprise in such a small vessel and this is certainly one where you are suppose to taste each ingredient on their own. The shift of different vegetable and its scale is interesting but the taste is rather unremarkable.
Having ordered a glass of Rioja which should be fool prove. The alternative is merlot which can only bring down the joyfulness of the beginning of the weekend but perhaps I’m generalising. The red is certainly a major improvement on the white as it is light in terms of fruit and substantial as to its body at the same time. Short on length but made up with the burst of strawberry a lingering of vanilla cream.
The main is “tender fillet of beef, shitake mushroom, white asparagus, brazil nuts, Thai braised sweetcorn, saffron & pasta beads, curried parsnip puree, balsamic vinegar glazed reduction, a sea slated sweet minced meat tart”. I anticipated it to be interesting but this just doesn’t work. Individually, the constituent is good but it is too pick-and-mix when you put it together. The mince meat is strong and so is the shitake. The beef is certainly tender but it contributes nothing apart from texture. The only redeeming feature is the as good as raw white asparagus which is sweet and crispy and deserve the praise for the effort in sourcing.
It took 2 minutes to finish the main so there is no time to develop. The main is a lost cause regardless of the amount of alcohol is involved.
The cheese course is mostly mild but they certainly try hard to fill you up. I tried to work my way through but just about not to finish it is a full meal worth of cheese. It is an eclectic selection without being exceptional. The choice of biscuit is good though and the seasoned grape does show effort. Although apart from being slightly salty, the seasoning is pretty redundant.
Desert wine of Raconteur syrah from South Africa (I hope my memory is correct). Lovely chilled sweet red which you don’t have too often. Full of plums… but that’s about it.
There is a pre desert of a paper sampling cup (like when they offer you cough syrup at a clinic) of coconut and porridge milk and it feels like trying too hard to be Scottish rather than being interesting although it isn’t bad. The desert of Egg custard is another slightly confused mix of custard, peanut butter and raisin which is pleasant but uninteresting
Once again a restaurant has failed to live up to the high standard it sets itself on its starter and disintegrate into mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a quality restaurant but amongst the one Michelin starred restaurant around, this is an average one of that.