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Texture


ravelda
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Just been to the new opening on Portman Square of a restaurant called texture. I will give a full write up later, but I will say that the food is very good indeed, the service is unbelievably slick (I have never seen a first opening where you feel like you are in a well established restaurant) and prices are pretty reasonable.

At lunch there is both a tasting menu and an menu not unlike at Foliage where you can chooses any number of courses at £8.50 each. Dinner is ALC or a selection of different tasting menus.

The room itself is beautifully laid out, clearly a fair amount of cash has been spent on this place. It is quite a contrast to the best western hotel with whom it connects to share toilets (no other link with the hotel other than that though). I believe the head chef and maitre d' are both ex Le Manoir and it certainly shows (the Maitre d' or manager-director as he is termed was I believe the youngest finalist in the Ruinart UK Sommelier of the Year in 2001 and in 2002 as he was the winner of this reward - it shows as the wine list is excellent).

I have to say that one thing I had expected from this restaurant was for an interesting play on textures. This seems to have been attempted but to be honest it did not really work as nothing particularly textural came across in the food. None the less it was a really good meal - I will certainly be heading back soon!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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the sous chef at Etxebarri is a friend of the head chef here, and he spoke very highly of their plans for texture and the quality of people involved.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Oh blast, it's one of those stupid websites which you can't navigate vithout Flash or some other silly American software you have to sign an online declaration giving up your firstborn before you are allowed to download. Why do people waste money on websites that a good percentage of viewers can't read?

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Oh blast, it's one of those stupid websites which you can't navigate vithout Flash

Luddites can find a PDF menu here, which features delights such as muesli and "fisherman's infusion". Don't all rush at once.

Two questions:

1- Deya disappeared pretty quick, and Fiore has been shut for ages. Is Claudio Pulze okay?

2- How can anyone justify spending half a million quid on turning a quite posh restaurant into a quite posh restaurant?

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Oh blast, it's one of those stupid websites which you can't navigate vithout Flash

Luddites can find a PDF menu here, which features delights such as muesli and "fisherman's infusion". Don't all rush at once.

Thank you.

I rest my case, though; without Flash. which I'm not keen to download given the declaration users are asked to sign up to, you can't get into the site.

Surely it's better to cater both for us Luddites and for the rest of you. For example, the licensed property agents Davis Coffer Lyons have a website which checks automatically whether or not you have Flash and if you do not transfers you to a steam-driven version of the website in ten seconds.

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went for lunch yesterday.

Brilliant!

most ambitious new startup opening since Tom Aikens. almost 2* std off the bat.

mind you, I think they will need to scale back in the beginning and work up to their expected standards. seemed a bit overkill for a place only open a few days.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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went for lunch yesterday.

Brilliant!

most ambitious new startup opening since Tom Aikens.  almost 2* std off the bat.

mind you, I think they will need to scale back in the beginning and work up to their expected standards.  seemed a bit overkill for a place only open a few days.

My son has worked for Aggie for the past 2 years and from what he has told me the man is both a perfectionist who takes no prisoners when it comes to maintaining the standard he insists upon in his kitchen, and a culinary genius. I look forward my birithday lunch there :smile:

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A quick lunch there today. It's good, no doubt and ambitious. Operating at a high 1* standard at least - we shall see how it settles.

The food is very smart, very well executed, goes togther and on the lunch menu is pretty reasonably priced. Highlights were pork belly (which avoided the twin pitfalls of being too fatty/melty and too dry) and the parmesan crisps which came as canapes.

A couple of observations:

- Very surprising to see this sort of food coming out of Manoir alumni. It's about as far as Le Manoir (trad french in tiny portions at extortionate prices) as can be.

- With all due respect "Texture" should mean "crispy and crunchy". An old canard here - like many western restaurants which claim to explore texture there is very little attention paid to chewy/gelatinous textures which are a staple of Asian cuisine. Lots of crunchy, lots of crispy, lots of melty jelly. A small point.

- This is a very well resourced operation. Not surprising FoH is slick - they had a big brigade out there even on a slow Sat lunch service. They are doing great things here, but bear in mind they have great resources from the looks of it.

- Its not all rocket science - also an eye on seasonality and good ingredients, in particular exemplary tomatos with the egg.

- Over the last year and a bit we've been blessed in London with a bunch of really good mid/upper mid openings - Magdalen, El Faro, Rhodes new place and this one spring to mind. Long may it continue

ta

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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agree with Jon Tseng about textures. it's all crispy and crunchy. i would have loved to have seen a few more explorations of textures soft and wobbly!

after cod skin, parmesan, potato and bread crisps to start. more crisp bread came with my first course 'tomato and artichoke textures' and later with the cheese course. oh and bacon popcorn with the pigeon. i was crying out for mercy by the end. in my opinion, the onslaught of huge flavours and crispy crunchiness was way too much.

the service on the plus side was very good.

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agree with Jon Tseng about textures. it's all crispy and crunchy.  i would have loved to have seen a few more explorations of textures soft and wobbly!

Although too be fair it makes a change from the "oh its sous vide so its really tender isnt that great." "no you pillock because sous vide food generally has all the texture of wet candy floss" which is oh-so-common nowadays.

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Friday lunch was a bit disappointing at texture. First observation was that the dining room was nearly empty - a couple of people en seule, then maybe one or two other tables of four. A bit surprising, I thought, for a friday afternoon.

Canapes were as described above with a couple of underwhelming dips, one of which was a wasabi cream. Pre-starter was a celeriac, raisin and, I think, apple, topped with cream - a kind of play on a waldorf salad. Perhaps just a little bit sweet, so erred slightly on the side of a pud. My colleague can't eat dairy and was substituted a crab dish dressed with... erm... yoghurt.

Bacon and egg starter was the highlight for me. The tomatoes were good, as per Jon Tseng's. The bacon was so very thin and crispy though, that it was almost difficult to extract any flavour from it. I should say at this point that I wasn't feeling my best, so I was undoubtedly in non-peak condition for tasting.

Pork belly, I thought, could have been a bit more fatty and I wasn't a great fan of the spiced cabbage. It had that slightly preserved flavour, which I guess is a Scandinavian thing? Not to my taste. Some crispy (again) pork fat tasted of little and there was no incremental benefit to the dish as a whole.

The muesli was a good finish. Milk sorbet was well made, smooth, yet light. The underlying muesli was, however, very much just muesli.

I suppose I was expecting to be wowed by this place, but wasn't. The cooking standard is high though not, in my opinion, high 1*. I'm not overly fond of the concept. If you concentrate on adding novel or unusual textures to a dish, rather than the flavour and balance, the result isn't always optimal.

It'll be very interesting to see how this thread progresses as a few more people try it out...

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I have to say, as much as I enjoyed my meal here, for the textural element, I have been more impressed with how Chris Staines at Foliage ustilises them in his dishes without it becoming the tail that wags the dog.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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how unusual a new place opens to universal praise (and not just on this forum) , sounds like a must try - fishermans infusion excepted

Very lukewarm review in Time Out today (kind technically proficient person please post a link here...)

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how unusual a new place opens to universal praise (and not just on this forum) , sounds like a must try - fishermans infusion excepted

Very lukewarm review in Time Out today.

And in Metro today. Is a backlash starting already? Will have to try it for lunch this week and make up my own mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m a bit confused by my meal here on Saturday, maybe it was because I was distracted by eating with friends and not really being able to concentrate on the food quite as much as I would like. I’m not sure if it was merely OK or if it was bloody good, I’m erring on the side of the former though I think I need another visit to decide. Pigeon with the bacon popcorn worked well, not sure what sort of pigeon it was, the size of the claw would suggest that it was a hybrid crossed with a golden eage. The red wine essence seemed a little lost.

The cod with crispy chorizo and coco beans was nice but nothing out of the ordinary (coco beans seem so passé), the fish was a little overcooked for my tastes as well - hardly groundbreaking. Black leg chicken was well cooked and coated in various grains, it came with a wasabi emulsion, unfortunately the only clue that it was wasabi was the light green colour, understandably they are worried about overpowering the palate with something like this but it really should be identifiable as an ingredient.

My Valrhona chocolate dessert was the least successful dish, a chocolate ganache with fennel salt, cardamom ice cream and olive oil. It felt a little heavy and once again not particularly interesting. A coconut dessert was much better with interesting plays on the theme, a foam, cake, flaked coconut and ice cream (this is from memory it wasn’t my dessert) were good.

Sometimes I felt they were trying too hard, a dessert of Lemongrass and Ginger soup with summer fruits and mango came with a small piece of onion in it. I didn’t taste it and my friend commented to the waiter that she didn’t think it really worked. The waiter explained that the chef wanted to be unusual so that people remember them. IMO there is no point in being unusual for unusuals sake! I’ll remember a good dish whether it has odd ingredients in it or not.

Service was excellent throughout the meal. The dining crowd didn’t appear to be particularly foodie either which surprised me a little. Overall a pretty decent meal (it sounds like I’m griping above I know), solid one star cooking with potential, it will be interesting to see how it develops.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Interesting meal last Saturday night

Nibbles – selection of painfully thin & crispy “things” which included cod skin - rest were lovely but the cod skin was a bit of a miss. Good try, ‘though. Came with foam of wasabi and yogurt based dip. Interesting & very, very messy.

First – celeriac concoction of foam & essence plus apple and hazelnut – a bit like a reworked waldorf salad – but much better. Just lovely.

Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom “construction” served with infused tea of artichoke. Interested but lacking in depth – a bit one note for my liking but refreshing nonetheless.

Pigeon with bacon popcorn, slice of corn on the cob & puree of corn (or was it parsnip?). Very good dish with bags of flavour.

Next was cod but we asked to swap with the scallop dish on the fish tasting menu. They very kindly gave us a portion of the cod dish as well so we could taste it. I didn’t really like the cod but the scallops ware stunning – came with variety of cauliflower done several ways – foams (of , course!), thinly sliced & raw, puree and cous cous with very fine dice of the floret: delicious. (cauliflower & delicious are two words not often put together). Staggeringly good.

Belly of pork with squid, cracking and interesting eastern influenced sauce. A fine dish.

Desserts were a little less interesting – but I am not really dessert person.

A major plus was the bread – Le Manior influence clearly in evidence here.

A major minus – no petit fours – outrageous!

Anyway – a very welcome addition to London scene but they will need to sort of the tables – too, too small for all the dishes that arrive. But warning – this quite an expensive restaurant and not as relaxing as it could be: tables are a little too packed together and I hate overhearing other people conservations – especially dull ones!

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Thanks for the write up Tony. Interesting to hear the tables are rather packed together - that is definitely a change from when I visited on their opening lunch when there was bags of room between tabels. Also the scallop dish sounds almost identical to a dish I had earlier in the year at Foliage, a restaurant which I find utilises textures in a far more imaginative and interesting way.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I read an interview today in Conde Nast Traveller with the chef of Texture and I hope that he was only mis-quoted but when asked where his favorite foodie destinations were, he replied"New York and Miami." He mentioned that there is a very good French restaurant in Manhattan called WD50. His favorite place in Miami was a place called Per Se.

I'm sorry but this made him look like an idiot.

WD50 is not even a French restaurant and Per Se is nowhere near Miami!

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Based on these reviews I had an excellent lunch at texture on November 3, during a quick trip to London. Everything was very good -- from the crispy bits at the start (excepting the cod skin) all the way through (jerusalem artichoke combo, pumpkin carpaccio.) Thought it was first rate.

Ironically, that was the date of the idiotic review in the Guardian that a friend brought to my attention today. What the heck was that all about?

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