Posted on Tuesday, 7th June 2011
I have always thought highly of Bryn Williams. That man can cook, and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal the last time I went to Odette’s even though I had a bit of a bad service experience (click here for that post). But the food at Odette’s was good enough, and it deserved another chance.
This time around I dined as a guest of Odette’s. We kicked off the meal with an amuse of mushroom soup with pickled mushrooms. The soup was wonderfully flavoursome and creamy, and the pickled effect of the diced mushroom pieces gave the soup an interesting contrast.
Succulent, moist and perfectly crisped hand dived scallops (£14) were accompanied by some velvety smooth cauliflower and coconut purée that worked well with the star ingredient and which left me wanting more. There were also some salted grapes which weren’t particularly salty but which didn’t quite match with the scallops. Nevertheless, this was a very classy and accomplished dish.
A crab lasagne (£12) was a showcase in lusciousness. Fresh crab folded through a salmon and scallop mousse had been layered between sheets of egg pasta and steamed to create a light, airy texture. It was topped with some tender deep-fried baby squid and finished with a well flavoured shellfish sauce made with lobster and crab shells.
I had expected great things from the winning roasted turbot, braised oxtail, cockles and samphire (£25) dish created by Bryn for Queen Elizabeth’s 80th Birthday on the Great British Menu in 2006. Conceptually I could see how this dish could be fantastic. But even though the skinny piece of turbot had been nicely crisped, it tasted tired and lacked the moisture I was hoping for. And the oxtail, although not tough, could have been tenderer. The earthiness of the cockles and samphire were a nice addition to the dish. As a final touch, there was also a gentle foam made with cockle juice, lemon and crème fraiche.
Loin of Elwy Valley mutton (£21) was pink and juicy and dressed with a lovely jus made from lamb stock and mutton bones. There were was also some salsify which had a bite to it and a side serving of shepherd’s pie topped with mashed potatoes which was a bit salty.
As a cheese course, we chose the whipped goat’s cheese with beetroot (slice and purée) and Regent’s Park honey (£10) which had been listed in the starters section on the menu. The honey was divine, and there was a wonderful balance of savoury, sweet and acidic elements between the various components. For some textural crunchinesss, pine nuts had been thrown in. This was a well judged dish.
The pre-dessert was a scrumptious buttermilk pannacotta with strawberries.
A wonderful apple and pistachio cake, calvados cream (£7) was deliciously moist with hints of nuttiness. The accompanying apple sorbet and calvados cream worked a treat with the cake, although the glazed apple slice could have been a little softer for a more caramelised effect.
A blackberry soufflé gave of little bursts of fruity acidity and was airy and light. This was extremely well made without being over sweet, and was served with a yummy vanilla ice cream (£10).
The starters and desserts were tremendous, and boy, was that Regents Park honey delicious. The turbot dish didn’t hold up as well, but on the whole the food is technically accomplished and enjoyable. As for the service, there were no issues this time around as it was both better staffed and more proficient. The restaurant is really cozy, and I’ve also since learnt that there is an outdoor seating space suitable for some garden dining if you so choose.
I like Odette’s and would happily go again. Like I said, Bryn can cook.
Food rating: 4/5
Food rating: 3/5
Price range: 3 courses – £35 to £51. Excludes drinks and service.