Friday, October 29, 2010

boisdale with the boys

 Trust J and K to pick boisdale for supper – it was the whisky club and cigar terrace that drew them there. Couldn’t get more boy friendly than that unless we had gone to a gentlemen’s club. But i don’t’ think the  respective wife/girlfriend would have approved, and i’m glad – the last time i went to stringfellows i don’t think they served food.
Still i was grateful to have been invited along for dinner and what was a really good night out. I cant’ believe i’m saying this, but the menu was so sexy. Not in that clichéd minimalist fusion food trying way too hard way. There was nothing fusion about the food here – standard classics done incredibly well. This menu oozed confidence. And confidence is sexy. Very sexy. The choice of starters offered on the menu included straightforward pleasures such as oysters, prawn cocktail, crab on toast, caviar. J has a theory that if any place is confident to put something as mundane sounding like prawn cocktail on its menu and claim it to be a house specialty, it’s either got unjustifiably high regard for itself, or the prawn cocktail is going to be damn good. And it was. A mound of fresh crisp prawns on a bed of lettuce crisper still, dressed with green harissa mayonnaise and mary rose sauce and liberally dusted with paprika. It was a joy to eat. Banish all thoughts and bad memories of the supermarket tubs of prawn cocktail bachelors buy to eat the garishly pink mayonnaise. This was a complete joy to eat.
K and I each went for the caramelised diver caught south uist king scallops, roast macsween haggis, saffron mash, dry curd Ayrshire ackon and spinach puree. How does the very sound of that not immediately send shudders of undisguised pleasure down your back? Well it did that for me and i had to have it. Had to. And it was more than i thought it’d be. The scallops were perfectly executed, juicy, plump and sweet like all great scallops should be. The haggis, fried to a crisp in little mounds, the bits of bacon providing yet more smoky crunch against the creaminess of both the scallop and the gloriously yellow saffron mash.
It was the night for cow. K’s steak tartare was extremely tasty and served with thin cut shoe string chips which were perfectly crisp and a very good thing to eat with the well seasoned raw mince and fresh egg yolk. I could never work out why Mr Bean didn’t’ take to steak tartare – it’s a glorious thing to eat when done well. A bite of the thin cut chips and i declared that if i was queen, i would outlaw all other forms of chips and just have these – off with the heads of those who dared serve me those soggy chunky chips which are nothing short of a monstrous disaster. I’ve never really liked chunky chips – the potato to surface area ratio doesn’t do it for me.

J and I had a rib eye  each – he chose his with the grated black truffle and glazed carrots. I had mine with béarnaise sauce, watercress and a grilled tomato. I had asked to sub the tomato for mushrooms – i wasn’t in a tomato mood, and the chef was nice enough to give me both the tomatoes and the mushrooms. The wild mushrooms were luscious, velvety, and tasted like an autumn romp in the woods. We also ordered a side of Jerusalem artichokes to share. The steaks were very good. and i'm glad they gave me the right amount of bearnaise - i hate it when the bearnaise runs out before you're done with the steak.

If the food so far had me shuddering in pleasure. The deserts made me scream in pure delight. Silently of course. I had the earl grey brulee which came with vanilla ice cream, a jam-filled sponge and a marshmallow on a spoon shaped butter tuille. K had the chocolate torte – so rich yet not cloying at all and just completely delightful. J’s oatmeal icecream with raspberries had the perfect balance between the tartness of the fruit and the smoothness of the oatmeal icecream – it also came with a pastry cigar filled with whisky cream which made J very happy indeed.

Boisdale has several branches over London – and to be honest, before this night, it never really appealed to me – i thought it’d be too stuffy and tartan. It was very tartan, and while a little old school, the food is completely delightful and a lovely time was had. Thanks J & K for taking me on your boys night out! x

Boisdale of Belgravia
15 Eccleston Street


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