Usually it’s just the three of us. The old Arbuturian gents club, meeting for dinner, laughing about Jonesy’s latest encounter with an arachnid, Larry’s ‘still not quite happened’ trans-Siberian train adventure or my latest falling out (or into) a pit of fire – but this time it was different; Girl Thursday had joined us at the table and Texture was the venue. Gentlemen, your best cravats, hankies and behaviour please.
The first time I noticed Texture, I was considering going to the the Churchill Bar at the Hyatt Regency, the Scotch list had piqued my interest and I thought a jaunt down that way for a dram and a cigar might be quite a pleasant way of spending an afternoon. I then realised that I should be at work, either penning something for our relentless and ever demanding Editor-in-Chief or spinning a web of digital intrigue of my own making.
Anyway. There we were, the four of us, a lovely symmetry to the table that is usually lacking and of course the added treat of a lady’s charms. All was going well until the wine list came out. Stalwart red drinkers as we are, you can imagine the shock, dare I say horror, that manifested itself when GT asked for ‘white’ wine. Picture the scene in the Reform Club at the end of Palin’s 80 Days Around The World and you wouldn’t be far off. We acquiesced in the nicest possible way and proceeded to sip a lovely New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a very well priced Richardson ’08. At least GT didn’t order a white wine spritzer, and I mean really, who drinks white wine spritzers these days?
So to the food, as ever we focused our attentions on the set lunch menu (£22 for 3 courses), a veritable Icelandic influenced feast that had even the well versed Jonesy, travel hardened Larry and notably eloquent Girl Thursday all enquiring after some of the dishes – this I thought was a very good sign.
Out came the pre-lunch nibbles which included some deep-fried fish skins. It’s hard to know what to expect other than fishy cripsyness and suffice to say we weren’t that surprised when that was what we had. It was certainly full of flavour, but what I really wanted was the fish that was previously a tenant. Polite chatter ensued, broken by the arrival of an outstanding amuse bouche in the form of a chilled pea and mint concoction that quickly made up for any indiscretion from the fish skin. This simple, delightful pot would be enough to get me back for another sitting. Bursting with flavour, fresh and light, very, very good.
So on to the real food. Between us we managed to cover everything on the menu; I started with the beetroot and goat’s cheese with a dash of balsamic and chervil ice cream, the earthy beetroot combined very well with the other parts and without hesitation I polished off the lot – far too quickly, best behaviour on hold. The second option, taken up by the gents, was Icelandic line-caught smoked haddock, accompanied by a melange of egg and mustard. Again, gone almost too quickly for polite company. Did I mention there was a lady present? Alas there were only three members of the exclusive ‘clean plate club’ for the first round, GT was not as impressed with the beetroot dish as I.
More white wine, something about Tosca and the main course majestically arrived. Pork belly for two and salmon with a twist of far Eastern spice for the others. From what I’m told the pork belly was the outright winner, firm but tender, bursting with flavour and more than a mouthful portion-wise. The salmon was also good, the subtle flavours of star anise just tickling through and the accompanying bits adding to the whole, but not quite lifting it to magnificence.
More white wine. Yes, white, wine.
Dessert. This time I definitely won with the lemon and mango soup with some beautifully sweet lemongrass, basil and olive oil. It cut past the lurking savoury from the salmon and quickly enlivened my mouth, refreshing and invigorating all in one. Unfortunately the Icelandic Skyr with rhubarb and muesli wasn’t such a winner. Skyr, for those not in the know (which was all of us) is a yogurt-like dessert, and if you are being pedantic it’s actually a soft cheese (cheese course complete!). The rhubarb worked its way nicely into the creaminess of white dessert but the muesli sprinkled on the side didn’t really add much.
All in all, and muesli aside, a very nice lunch, more hit than miss with some interesting elements that kept you guessing. I’d certainly go back for seconds – and next time I might be tempted by a white wine spritzer. Well, maybe not then.