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well, we went there on Sunday night for our anniversary. It was excellent. We had the menu exceptionnel which was elegant & classic. canapes were langoustine mayonnaise on toast, tapenade palmiers and a croute with pancetta and chutney. Amuse was an oyster with a savoury foam. Course 1 was hot foie gras; there was a foie terrine on the specials menu and I couldn't make up my mind what to have - the terrine was offered instead no problem. Went for the hot foie and it was excellent, served with ginger bread and some mache salad. Second course was crusted topping, braised oxtail and fava beans. Third was vodka sorbet with a tutti frutti compote. Main course was duo of game (venison chop and a ballotine of pigeon I think) with a vol au vent of salsify and spinach. The venison chop was really nicely cooked. We had an additional course of cheese which was served with a choice of 4 biscuits or walnut bread. We ended with mirabelle souffle followed by the usual petits fours.

There were some unusual choices available for wine pairings.

The service was great. the staff are very friendly and will happily chat to you if you want to talk and leave you alone if you don't. The decor is a bit, well, odd but no more peculiar than some of the old school places on the continent.

All in all it was a relaxed atmosphere, superb classic cuisine. I certainly don't want to eat dishes with 15 different interpretations on a theme at every restaurant I go to and I really enjoy the fact that both the Gavroche and the Waterside are just as much about the diner as the chef.

And no, there are no plastic balls of ice cream :rolleyes:


Edited by Fibilou (log)

www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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We had lunch there two weeks ago. Just as what we anticipated, every course from amuse bouche to dessert was great but nothing too exciting.

For amuse bouche, a spoon with diced Granny Smith topped with sardine, cauliflower mousseline on pastry, chicken liver pâté on a warm crouton, and a puffy cheese stick. Definitely a good start for lunch.

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Then, a tender breast of quail with a perfectly poached quail egg. It came with a crispy pie stuffed with meat from quail leg, foie gras, and aubergine coulis.

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For main, a roasted best end of milk lamb with minted hollandaise sauce.

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For dessert, a chocolate tartlet with banana and mango coated with meringue accompanied by an exotic fruit sorbet.

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The meal wasn’t too interesting, but guess who sat across from us?!


Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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Our previous time in Bray was to celebrate our last big occasion (my 60th birthday), when we had dinner at the Fat Duck. We promised ourselves a return to eat at the Waterside for the next big occasion.

It was a rare lovely summer’s evening and we were invited to take our aperitifs on the terrace. The Waterside is appropriately named – literally one false step and you’d be in the Thames. By the time we had made our way through the restaurant to the terrace, we must have been greeted by a dozen members of staff wishing us “good evening” or “bon appétit”. Drinks came with some excellent canapés – cured fish with pea puree and tartare sauce; a disc of steak tartare on a game chip, topped with half a quail’s egg and a perfectly made mild goats cheese gougere.

Once at our table, excellent bread was offered and continued to be offered throughout the meal, until dessert. The amuse quickly followed - marinated salmon, rolled in what I think was finely chopped watercress and dill, a little horseradish cream, lightly dressed frisee and a tiny grissini. Classic flavours, really well done.

It’d taken us a while to decide what we wanted to eat – should it be the main carte or should be go with the six course set “menu exceptionnel”. It was almost a coin toss-up but we went with the menu in the end.

First up, flakes of white crab meat (hopefully they find a use for the brown meat), with tiny balls of melon. It doesn’t sound as though it should really work but it really did. What was obviously going to work was the scattering of almonds which provided some interesting crunch. And a marinated king prawn was a delight.

Neither of us are big fans of foie gras – the food ethics get in the way of enjoyment usually. But this was excellent – a slice of terrine in which chicken breast had been encased by the foie. Very clever and very delicious. Offsetting the richness of the terrine was a little salad of vegetables with a sharp dressing and a lovely brioche.

A single scallop came next. Cooked perfectly to the “almost dissolves in your mouth” stage. There was a little celery puree and a tamarind sauce, the latter just giving a hint of sharpness which contrasted with a foam that (on checking the menu) I see was described as a “coconut emulsion”. The intriguing bit here was the slices of grilled octopus – slightly “al dente” providing a good texture contrast.

At this point, there is choice between duck and lamb and we both opted for lamb. It’s a roasted loin, stuffed with aubergine and pine nuts. Needless to say, as this is a French restaurant, their concept of “rare” means “very rare”. Not impossibly so, and not raw, but you wouldn’t want it any rarer. It does mean that the fat is not so pleasant to eat but cut it away and you have a delicious piece of meat. Alongside, more aubergine in what the menu describes as a “gateau of moussaka”. Certainly the flavours were what you might expect.

Pre-dessert was a rose petal sorbet – light, a bit floral, a bit sweet, topped with a candied rose petal – it did everything you want a palate cleansing sorbet to do.

Dessert Number 1 was an apricot mousse topping a shortbread biscuit, alongside an apricot sorbet. And, I’m sure I tasted passion fruit in there as well. It was delicious. Second up, a raspberry soufflé was one the best desserts I can recall. Ever. Needless to say, this had risen perfectly, tasted perfect and had loads of raspberry puree inside. It is the one regret I had about not going for the main carte – you could see that those who had ordered from it got a bigger soufflé!.

Coffee came with a wonderful selection of petit fours – a real tribute to the craft skills of the pastry chef.

Almost needless to say, service from the almost exclusively French staff had been immaculate. They, like the folk in the kitchen, had not put a step wrong all evening. It’s very much a team effort and there must have been seven or eight different members of staff who attended our table during the evening. And, as such, it was good to see that service is included in the menu price – just as it would be in France – and not as an add-on charge. We were very pleased to give our thanks for the meal, direct to Alain Roux, when he toured the dining room towards the end of service. It really had been an excellent evening – and, yes, we count ourselves very fortunate to be able to afford experiences like this.


John Hartley

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