The a la carte menu is small, so we skipped the tasting menu option and cherry-picked the items of interest.
Lamb sweetbreads, courgette and horseradish
I love sweetbreads. The kitchen did an excellent job with these soft doughy morsels with slightly charred edges, oozing distinctive offal flavours. The beautifully roasted bites were paired with a strong savoury gravy, infused with a faint trace of horseradish to offset the pungent aroma of sweetbreads. The succulent courgette carried a slight crunch, its clean juices helped to lift the strong flavours. It was quite a unique dish.
Boudin noir, Raf tomato, parsley and shallot
It's a unusual choice, he doesn't normally go for a second offal dish - too adventurous. But it was a small menu, and it turned out to be a very good choice.
The thick disc of black pudding was surprisingly light, moistened by the thin sauce and nicely contrasted by the shallots. It had a power tone but nothing offensive, and the acidity from the small wedge of tomato relieved the metallic taste in the blood. It was interestingly different, a good kind of different.
Octopus, sorrel and bone marrow
The thick octopus tentacle was not quite perfect; slightly overcooked and the rubbery texture was coming through. The centre had lost its creamy juiciness and the mild bitterness from the charring was the only flavour left. It had gone over. The unconventional pairing of bone marrow didn't pay off either. Without the beefy melted grease, the globules of marrow lost its magic and we're limp on the plate. Not one of the better dishes, but the worst is yet to come.
Cod, watercress and chestnut mushroom
A very dainty dish for sharing. At £22 I was tempted to ask for the other half of the dish. The fish was excellent, marginally undercooked to retain its silky smoothness. The skin could have been crispier, and there could have been a thicker layer of fish oil essence. The mushroom fragrance was subtle, more for substance than flavour.
Bavette, beetroot, ricotta and anchovy
He decided he was still hungry after the last dish so we added an order of the steak. And how we wished we didn't. The two thick strips of beef were served medium rare, exposing its coarse ruby grains. It was difficult to cut against the grain to avoid the sinewy textured as we had to slice lengthways, but even then the steak was tough and chewy, interweaved with far too much tendon. The meat was lacking flavour, as if it had been pumped with water to drain its natural goodness. The jus was flat, overseasoned and flimsy, but the worst was the awkward pairing of anchovy with ricotta that simply didn't belong. I'm afraid this eccentricity was a tad stretched.
Soft chocolate, yoghurt and Griottines
It was okay; uninspiring yet unoffensive. The kirsch-soaked cherries turned out to be the highlights and I don't even like cherries.
When we were paying, we fedback to our server that the bavette was the weakest of the dishes and asked why it was sliced in such manner. He tried to explain bavette is a very tough cut and it required very precise cooking; slicing it any other way was apparently not possible. Well... I wasn't convinced. Not that it mattered.
Was the Ellory a Michelin star experience? Not sure. Perhaps on the innovative front and the experimental aspirations, but the results are hit-and-miss. Compared to other one-star establishments, I felt this was underwhelming. Of course we could have visited on an off-night, or we missed their signature dishes, but from what we have tried, we felt there is more mileage to cover.
1 Westgate Street
Tel: +44 203 095 9455
You may also like: Dabbous*, Typing Room, Story *