Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review: Great Queen Street

Great Queen Street

A trip up to The Big Smoke always guarantees several things:

• A severe dent to the wallet
• Slight culture shock
• The recollection of quite how much you always used to hate the tube
• Smile deficit – not enough people looking happy for my liking/requirement
• BUT – on the positive side – you always know you’ll have a packed repertoire of new and interesting eats to get noshing.

Which is good when you write a food blog. These days my restaurant visits are so few and far between that there’s minimal blog material to be getting on with. So as soon as I get the opportunity to flex my jaw muscles and get chewing, I seize it!

At the moment I’m helping with the research and writing for a friend’s next book so, as is our customary way, we ended the day in a nice restaurant. Not a bad end to the working day!

Whilst normally we work our way through the various decent Italian restaurants in London, this time we went ye olde englishe-style, and hit up Great Queen Street, the sister restaurant to gastropub Anchor & Hope I talked about back in November. And it did its little sister proud, with not only scrumptious dishes, but also brilliant service, and an unexpected little dish hiccup, which led to much hilarity between myself and our waiter.

So what did I tuck into, I hear you cry! Well:

Cod’s Roe Salad with carrots, beetroot and watercress – thin slivers of pungent smokey fish roe, bright orange against an attractive array of violet beetroot chunks, sweet and earthy, candy-sweet baby carrots, and piquant watercress, all bound together with a light horseradish sauce. The perfect combination of salt, sea, sweet, earth and nostril-flaring tang of the horseradish tantalizing and teasing your tastebuds. An ‘on-your-toes’ dish if ever there was one. Not least because, and this is probably not such a good thing, but give the ensuing mirth I just had to mention it – there was, shall we say, an extra added ingredient. I couldn’t quite place it, or mark back to the list of ingredients in the menu, so I called over our (very brash, cheeky Australian) waiter, who was my new gay best friend, and asked him. There’s a first time for everything – I’d never fed a waiter off my dish, he ate the mystery object, couldn’t place it either, muttered ‘do you mind?’ and WHIPPED it off my plate, for a scientific dissection session back in the kitchen. Turned out a rogue mushroom had found its way onto my plate. Not to worry – free entertainment!

Arboath Smoked Haddock with mashed swede and buttered cabbage – an understated diva, this Haddock rather stole the show. Buttery and smokey, and scattered lightly with chives, it sang alongside the support acts - a mellow mashed swede and a heaped spoonful of buttered cabbage. Anyone traumatized by school memories of the veg would soon be guaranteed converts.

So, all in all, a splendiferous show, and worth a return visit.

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