Monday, 1 May 2017

Elystan Street - 2nd Anniversary

Phil Howard left The Square to open his own restaurant on Elystan Street. With the positive reviews and the understated elegance of the restaurant, it was the perfect setting to celebrate our second anniversary.

The spacious dining room was airy with plenty of natural light; the ambience became more intimate as night falls and lights were dimmed for a warm glow. The vibe was more chilled smart casual than romantic fine-dining.

We were umm-ing and arr-ing over the starters section. Probably because I had my mind set on the poached oyster dish on the website, but it's no longer on the menu. So nothing really jumped at me; on the contrary, some of the vegetarian dishes from the mains looked quite interesting. The kitchen kindly agreed to accommodate by serving a starter size of these dishes. Excellent.

Beaufort and Montgomery cheddar cheese soufflé with a truffle cream, dressed leaves, shallots and herbs
The soufflé was feather soft, airy and moist in the middle with a slightly crusted cap. A text book soufflé... that got a bit boring half way through, the cheese flavour got slightly dense and it was lacking depth and dimension. The tangy dressed salad on the side helped to lift the palate, but I felt the soufflé need a touch of sweetness to keep stimulating the tastebuds.

White asparagus with a soft poached duck egg, truffle emulsion, yeast and aged pecorino
White asparagus has a 2-week in-season period. Though I've always been perplexed by the fuss around white asparagus, it seemed sensible to pick the most seasonal item at a renowned restaurant before crossing it off my permanent 'try-list'. The translucent fine stalks of asparagus were soft on the outside but had a firm crisp bite in the centre, extremely succulent as if they were wrapped with an invisible layer of juice, then topped with a glowing orange custardy yolk, paired with faint perfume of truffle fragrance and nutty cheese shavings. 

Simplicity done well. Did it convert me to a white asparagus follower? Nope. 

Warm salad of guinea fowl with cauliflower, shaved mushrooms, liver crumble, celeriac and hazelnut

This was brilliant. The salad leaves had an understated sweetness, mixed with a hint of peppery punch, and there was much delicious goodies hidden in the heap of crunchy greens. Large chunks of guinea fowls were incredibly soft, oozed game juice with subtle flavours. The vegetables were sliced wafer thin, tender with a gentle bite; restrained sprinkle of liver morsels went beautifully with the earthy mushroom sheets, and all brought together by the drizzle of a light but creamy dressing. Simply the best salad I have ever tasted.

Aged ribeye of Dexter beef with a crisp potato galette, buttered morels, onion shells, red wine and truffle butter

On the contrary, his beefy main was rich and indulgent. The ribeye was served medium rare, concentrated with bovine goodness. There was the familiar beef jus that amplified the meatiness. Though absolutely delicious, it wasn't the most imaginative or memorable dish.

There was a lot of truffle on the menu, just a small component and it came in various shapes and forms. I can't say it was too noticeable.

Jersey Curd and Yorkshire rhubarb cheesecake with rhubarb sorbet

On the evening we visited, another celebrity chef, Jun Tanaka, was at the table behind us. Good to know another chef has also given his stamp of approval.

We had a wonderful evening at Elystan Street. There was nothing fancy or melodramatic about the food, just solid cooking with subdued elegance and finesse, with good attention to detail. It reminded me of Medlar, but even better.

Happy anniversary.

Elystan Street
43 Elystan Street
Tel: +44 207 628 5005

You may also like: Pollen Street Social*Fera @ Claridge's*, The Ledbury **

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