27a Hay’s Mews,
London, W1J 5NX
Tel. 020 7499 3331
Food type: Modern French
Nearest tube: Green Park
Website: The Greenhouse
With the start of grouse season (you can probably guess I am very far behind my posts but will try to get them all updated within the next two weeks) I was up to my usual antics of looking for various restaurants serving this game bird. The Glorious 12th marks the start of my favourite time of the year, where game season starts in England and a change from summer to autumn. Grouse is the first game that comes through the door and remains one of my favourites. This year’s shooting has been rather difficult, hampered by the bad weather and subsequently low yield of birds. Would this indirectly affect the quality of birds served in restaurants given how high-end restaurants demand a level of consistency?
Returning to the Greenhouse for a quick lunch having spent the morning sorting out our wedding cake, we were warmly greeted by the familiar front of house team. There were of course a couple of new nibbles to try including an excellent beef tartare with the gentlest lick of smoke and seasoned with anchovy. Another excellent nibble was a quinoa cracker topped with shaved smoked eel which added a nice rich mouthfeel without the eel becoming too overbearing.
For starters I tried a relatively new dish on the menu in the form of langoustines paired with avocado, yuzu, sake and lemongrass. The shellfish were naturally of the highest quality, as it should be with a £20 supplement. What was interesting was the treatment of the shellfish which were gently blowtorched to bring out all the crustacean-y flavour. For me the key component of the dish were the little quenelles of sorbet made from langoustine bisque and spiked with yuzu and lemongrass to add freshness. These carried a huge impact on the plate and also tied all the other elements together.
Of course the main reason for coming was to try chef Bignon’s interpretation of grouse. Here, the breasts were served pink with the skin-on, with a simple accompaniment of a variety of beetroot and some blackberries. Given that this was still relatively early in the season, the grouse was as expected rather delicate without the sometimes overbearingly gamey taste which can be found in birds later in the season. The dish was all tied together with a whiskey roasting jus, no doubt a nod to the heritage of the bird.
After our short interlude of cheese and pre-desserts, I concluded my meal with an interesting fennel and olive oil dessert. I am not the biggest fan of fennel but the dish itself was rather pleasant, if not thought-provoking. We were in a rush to meet up with our florist and as such did not linger around to have tea and petit fours which they had kindly packaged up for us to take away.
This was once again another accomplished meal today at the Greenhouse I am glad that chef Bignon has managed to retain his 2 Michelin Star rating in the 2016 guide which was recently released. Head sommelier Marc Piquet was around today and offered up some interesting wine pairings for our meal. It was a shame we only had a limited amount of time for lunch today as we both would have loved to have gone for the full tasting menu and tried a few more new dishes on offer. Maybe next time!