I’d given it a miss for a while. I’d been last year for dinner and not been entirely blown away and when that happens I tend not to return. Not when there are always shiny new and interesting places to try. Of which there appear to be about six a week.
B had been banging on about the brilliant set lunch and despite the fact that I caught B eating a McDonalds in her office last week, I do respect B’s food opinion. Fantastic value, she said, really. Try it.
So when the name Texture jumped out at me during a Toptable trawl, I went for it.
I ought to have listened to her before. The set menu at £21.90 for two courses and £26 for three has to be one of the best I’ve tried in recent memory. You know what I’m like about set menus – I steer clear. Ridiculous really, but there’s something about going for the cheap option that makes me feel cheap, like I’m missing out on the real deal. And with clients, you can’t always be sure that they will go for it – sometimes you can’t steer them onto the cheap seats.
I was interested to see how this would compare with the whole à la carte performance. I recalled the wonderful bowlful of crackers/crispbreads and
prayed hoped that we would be getting them with the lunch
And lo, and behold. Parmesan, fish skin, rye, potato. A large bowlful. Which I hoovered into my face. And then bread. Warm, lovely sourdough with good butter. Similarly dispatched.
And unexpectedly, a little pre–starter. Something with shaved ice on the top but which was described as different ways with cauliflower. First bite, the ice a little off-putting but actually underneath lay some interesting nutty cauliflower flavours.
Having had a minor carb overload, I was fairly replete, even before the first course, Cornish mackerel with fennel and “Asian flavours”. This was completely delicious. Slightly sweet-sour, cooked beautifully, charred and crispy skin, translucent flakes of fish, this sat on a bed of fennel which cut through the stong flavour of the fish. It was excellent.
And then the Elwy welsh lamb shoulder, coco beans, shallots and lamb jus. What a lovely, simple tasty dish this was. A good chunk of top quality lamb, perfectly cooked and full of flavour.
This was very different food from the adventurous and artistic food I had eaten on my last visit. Granted it was a set lunch menu, so it would be more simple but also, it showed the generosity of the kitchen, unlike the last time, where I had been a little taken aback by some of the pricing.
This wasn’t experimental or particularly complex but it really was fantastic value for £21.90, for two courses. Not only that, but, too full to have a dessert, I was delighted when they brought over four large truffles and two macaroons. A mini-dessert in itself. Both of them excellent.
At all times, service was exemplary and friendly. The waiting staff at professional but not intrusive and it really did feel like a polished, grown up and sophisticated dining experience. It made me want to go back and give dinner another go. This would be one of my first choices for good value but formal client–lunch dining, close to the office.
Not only that, but I am going to put my silly set lunch prejudice aside and try out some more. There are real bargains out there. This is one.