Posted on Wednesday, 6th October 2010
I like Dean Street Townhouse. My last meal there (to read about that meal, click here) was very enjoyable and it’s the kind of place I’d happily go to again and again. I was especially looking forward to trying the grouse that I had spotted on their menu. Not that many restaurants in London serve grouse even when it’s in season, so it’s a bit of a treat.
To start was a soused Cornish mackerel with sea purslane (£9). As one would expect, there were wonderful vinegary properties to the fish, similar to what you would find in the Scandinavian pickled varieties. The accompanying purslane, tapenade and wafer-thin crisp breads worked well with the mackerel, although this dish didn’t feel particularly autumnal. But it was great if pickled fish is your thing.
To a more warming starter, a seafood bisque with brandy (£7) had a good strong flavour of seafood. This was very tasty, although I would preferred a touch less cream as the soup was quite rich.
The roasted new season grouse (£28) that I was so looking forward to eating can be ordered either on the bone or off. I elected to have it on the bone and get my fingers grubby. The bird was cooked medium rather than the requested medium rare. Nevertheless it was still moist and succulent with a strong gamey flavour around the legs. However, the presentation of it was poor as it had not been trussed before roasting, meaning it turned up spread-eagled on the plate. A thick reduction made from the roasting sauces was delicious, although I would have liked more of it. There was also some bread sauce which tasted quite pleasant but was wrong in its consistency. Obviously pre-prepared and left to sit before serving, it had consequently thickened. A dash of milk was required to thin it out before serving.
Accompaniments including buttered cabbage and a chicken liver crostini were tasty, although some parsnip crisps could have done with a little more salt. Overall, this was a very tasty dish, and with a bit of tweaking would have been excellent.
Fish and chips (£15.50) came with a lovely, thick, crispy batter, and a zingy homemade tartare sauce. Chips were tasty and nicely seasoned. This was well prepared, but I would have been disappointed if the restaurant had gotten it wrong as it’s quite a simple dish.
A dessert of fig tart with honey ice cream (£6) was really yummy. The combination of the figs and frangipane in puff pastry worked well, although I would have liked the figs to have been a little bit more caramelised for a sweeter effect. The pastry was good, but it could have been lighter and flakier. As I noted in my last write-up of Dean Street Townhouse, Quo Vadis does better puff pastry, and I still believe this to be the case. The ice cream had a lovely light honey flavour, and its gentle sweetness worked a treat with the tart. Again, this was a very good dish, and again, with a bit of tweaking would have been outstanding.
I won’t talk about the décor as I’ve touched on it before. As for the service, it was pleasant and friendly, although between our mains and dessert, we were forgotten by our waiter. It took ages before we were able to order dessert. This wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that the restaurant wanted to kick us off our tables when we were still only halfway through our dessert.
There was some room for minor improvements, but I still enjoyed the food second time around. The décor is smart, the vibe is great, and all in all, Dean Street Townhouse is a good destination restaurant.
This meal was taken as a guest of Massey PR.