Sunday, September 25, 2011

Texture - restaurant review

Chef Agnar Sverrisson, joined forces with Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons Head Sommelier, Xavier Rousset, to launch Texture in September 2007.  The restaurant won a Michelin star in 2010, with Agnar being the first Icelandic chef ever to be awarded one.

I have to admit, I hadn't really heard much about Texture before we went.  Little B, my fine dining chum, found a lunchtime special offer (and we all know how much I like a special offer!) and a quick bit of research showed that people actually thought rather highly of it, so we duly booked.

Maybe the lack of buzz is just down to the fact that it's been knocking around for a little while?  I guess the blogosphere tends to favour the shiny and new.

We were a little underwhelmed by the venue itself, which is (strangely) attached to the Best Western Hotel, on Bryanston Street.  The decor in the high-ceilinged restaurant is pretty unremarkable and seems to be lacking a consistent theme.  It could really do with an injection of Scandi-style.

But anything lacking in the decor is quickly made up for by the food, which is super stylish.  From the presentation to the crisp, clean flavours and interesting (um) textures, this was a memorable meal.

We started with a plate of paper-thin wafers, served with a yoghurt and barley dip.  The cod skin was the most interesting, feather light with a delicate tang of fishiness. 

Bread was served alongside a faux pas.  When I asked the (head) waiter what the bread was, he informed us that it was 'just plain bread'.  Maybe something was lost in translation there.  Nonetheless, it was very tasty and the accompanying butter, flecked with Icelandic seaweed, was delicious.

An amuse bouche of tomato gazpacho with tomato 'snow' was flavoursome and refreshing.

We both had the Icelandic prawns to start.  Served with sorrel, cucumber and crisps of rye bread, this was a beautifully fresh and light starter.  The constituent flavours and textures worked perfectly together, ensuring that, although the dish was complex, it wasn't overly complicated.  I also loved the bold crockery used throughout, a welcome change from a plain white plate.

For the main course we had pollock with leeks, 'soil' and girolles.  The fish was perfectly cooked, although it isn't one of my favourites.  We weren't able to identify what the 'soil' actually was.  I really should've asked but I was far too busy eating.  The highlight of this dish was the leek, which was smoked and really added another dimension flavour-wise.

Our pudding was divine.  It had us oohing and aahing like kids at a fireworks display.  The cool, crisp cucumber cut through the rich Valrhona white chocolate mousse and ice cream perfectly and the sparks of dill added another layer of flavour.   

The food at Texture is inventive and exciting.  And £24 for three courses at lunchtime is an absolute steal.  Because the chef doesn't use cream or butter in his savoury dishes, the food is light enough to scoff 3 courses at lunchtime and not need to lie down for the rest of the afternoon.  I'm keen to go back of an evening and have a proper look at the extensive wine and champagne lists!

Texture on Urbanspoon

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