Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Texture, London

My reward for sitting through a Steps reunion concert (don't ask!), was a trip to the Michelin starred Texture. I had wanted to go to Texture since I saw the creator Agnar Sverrisson, put together a stunning looking dish on Saturday Kitchen. Sverrisson is from Iceland and combines the best of British ingredients with those from his native country to create some outstanding dishes. 

We had a reservation at 12pm on a Saturday so we were the first to arrive in the extremely elegant restaurant. The service was superb, certainly the best I've received since being gluten free. We opted for the very reasonably priced lunch menu and they were more than happy to adapt dishes, with seemlingly nothing being too much trouble. The main I opted for was served with fregola, a type of pasta, but our waiter said the dish would work just as well with quinoa. Coeliacs will agree, it's really positive when they can actively suggest alternatives rather than the "we'll just leave it off" attitude. Their understanding of catering for coeliacs was very impressive. They immediately brought me an alternative to the breads, a type of thin crisp served with a dip that tasted like an incredibly fresh tzatziki which woke up the taste buds for the beautiful food which followed.

We started with an amouse bouche which certainly lived up to the restaurant's name. A celebration of all things pea, combining a number of textures which delighted the palette. There was a frozen pea sorbet, a silky smooth pea purée and pea shoots all of which tasted so fresh it felt like they had been hand picked that morning. A great start to the meal. I followed this with the Wye Valley asparagus which was served with hazlenuts and a parmesan 'snow', once again such freshness that really did justice to the asparagus. My girlfriend had the smoked salmon, which was beautifully cooked and combined with simple Asian flavours.

Pea amouse bouche
Wye Valley Asparagus
Scottish smoked salmon
I proclaimed my main course at the time to be 'the best I've ever had' and looking back I think I still stand by this! Cornish Pollack cooked to perfection, served with lemon, sea vegetables and as mentioned quinoa which had bursts of fennel seeds. All of the dishes were exquisitely presented showing off some very exciting cooking. The menu description of 'English corn fed chicken with lemon, onion, peas and potato' - when you see the photograph - doesn't come near to doing the dish justice and this was also met with high praise.

Cornish Pollack
English Corn Fed Chicken
The waiter informed us that the dessert was something new that they were trying out. If this is experimenting, then they shouldn't stop. A perfect combination of valrhona chocolate, wild strawberries, salted caramel, seaweed and nuts with an anise ice cream! Many of the dishes had a dusting of a powdered seaweed which  just seemed to serve as a flavour enhancer. Once again modifications were made to ensure mine was gluten free, without detracting at all from a fantastic dish. 
Valrhona chocolate with Anise ice cream
Best main course I've ever had... Actually Texture may have gone one step further and could quite possibly be the best restaurant I've ever had the pleasure of dining at! Sublime food combined with exceptional service - it doesn't get much better.

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