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The Greenhouse


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A very good meal at The Greenhouse last night, thought long and hard about the Truffle menu but I've eaten a mass of them already this year so decided to stick with the ALC at £60 for 3 courses.

Scottish Langoustines with coco bean and lemon puree, calamari and chorizo carried a £5 supplement, something I am happy to pay provided the Langoustines are good. They were, delicately cooked with just the tail remaining of the shell so the meat was easily removed. The calamari was as tender as it comes although they was a slight temperature variation between the 3 pieces but this didn't necessarily detract. A couple of thin slices of chorizo added a good salty element to the dish with coco de pampol beans providing textural variation and the lemon puree a nice lift although there was a hint of bitterness to the puree, perhaps from a little too much pith? The dish was finished with Thai sweet basil which again added another interesting note. Despite a relatively large amount of ingredients the dish came together very well, overall a good dish.

Unicinatum truffle risotto, 'beurre noisette' and truffle coulis was as it read, a generous portion of good autumn truffles shaved atop the risotto and the plate spread with truffle coulis. A nice classic feel to it compared to the Langoustine, the earthy autumn truffle giving me a hopeful feeling for the coming black truffle season.

Aubrac Veal chop came with more autumn truffle and a selection of heirloom beetroots and carrots. This was outstanding, the quality of veal was the best I can remember in the UK since eating at Nico and I probably don't remember that too accurately. the quality of ingredients really shone in this dish, beautiful beets and carrots sliced and quartered offering a nice autumnal mix(I can't believe I'm saying that in December) of colours and combining well with the truffle

Roasted Brill on the bone, grated gumbawa, prawn and chorizo Thai rice. I only tasted a small piece of the brill which was a very good piece of fish, an oriental style oil/sauce with a strong smell of lemongrass/kaffir lime leaves (?). Thai rice was a stylish fried rice served in a separate bowl with chorizo and prawn. Overall a strong Asian influence to the dish which worked well but might upset some with a more classical palate, the gumbawa was apparently an Asian lime although I am unable to find reference to it. One small point was the flavoured breadcrumbs which I tasted briefly and was unfortunate enough to hit upon a chilli seed which temporarily destroyed my tastebuds, Rachel didn't find the problem again so I'm guessing it was stray one but something to watch out for.

I finished with a selection of cheeses, the standout cheese being a Vacherin, Saint Marcellin and 3 year old Bernard Antony Comte. A Colsten Basset Stilton was perhaps a little past it's best and probably something I should have recognised as it was down to the last piece.

Carpaccio of pineapple with cereal was the other halves dessert which I didn't get to taste.

Petit fours were very good, lovely warm madelaines and another warm chocolate miniature tart stood out along with excellent cinnamon flavoured marshmallow. I believe we were also comped a small selection of pots which I believe were part of the tasting menu, lychees chopped up with small mint leaves and another pot of chocolate and hazlenut (?) were great.

Overall an excellent meal, the best I have eaten in London this year, quality ingredients were apparent throughout, the Aubrac veal was superb and sourced directly from France, interestingly the beef was from Limousin, you may have expected the supply to be the other way around. Another thing very apparent to me was the influence of Michel Bras, the Asian touches and presentation were very reminiscent of his style, I believe that Antonin Bonnet at one point spent 3 years there. Definitely a place to keep an eye on and solidly holding onto the star earned by his predecessor and hopefully taking it to the next level, it is certainly within reach.

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

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A very nice chap he is too, hard working, methodical & passionate about food. About time he was given the opportunity. I believe he is good friends with Mark Askew of RHR(both worked together @ Bras), wow that would be an interesting combo! Anyway not surprised to hear you enjoyed your meal Matthew.

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Overall an excellent meal, the best I have eaten in London this year

Wow, best meal this year...that's quite something.....looks like a return visit is due, especially if it can bring back memories of Michel Bras. Although nothing can replace the sunset view from the dining room at MB and the state of the art 2001 a Space Odyssey lounge...

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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A very nice chap he is too, hard working, methodical & passionate about food. About time he was given the opportunity. I believe he is good friends with Mark Askew of RHR(both worked together @ Bras), wow that would be an interesting combo! Anyway not surprised to hear you enjoyed your meal Matthew.

He came out to our table towards the end of the meal and spent a lot of time talking about ingredients, as you say a very nice guy.

What really impressed me was the amount of time he had spent cooking at a private members club but he still had the ability to come out and change his style of cooking to meet the high standards that the Greenhouse has. He'll have no trouble at all holding the one star, and is a possible shout for two although I think Michelin may want to see him in control for a little longer to demonstrate some stability.

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

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I enjoyed a very good lunch at the Greenhouse recently which featured the langoustines, veal and the 'desert of the day' which was a mille-feuille with (i think) apricot preserve. I also remember some excellent granitas as a pre-desert. For me also the best meal of the year and based on that showing probably worthy of two stars (particularly given the service, the wine list and the excellent dining room).

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My other half hates the room with a vengeance, she enjoyed the meal though. I'm going to send her to a hypnotist in an effort to convince her that the room is nice and deserving of another meal in the new year

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

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My other half hates the room with a vengeance, she enjoyed the meal though. I'm going to send her to a hypnotist in an effort to convince her that the room is nice and deserving of another meal in the new year

Really? I think the room is nice, certainly not in any way offensive that I can see. I feel a lunchtime treat with the wife coming on.....

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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Matthew - you are costing me a bloody fortune! You are driving me back to places that havn't been visited by me for a year of so with your reviews and rapidly bankrupting me! :raz:

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

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  • 10 months later...

After our Ducasse cancellation, we nabbed a table at the Greenhouse. And very good it was too.

The one thing that stood out for me was that the main event on every plate was perfectly cooked: Langoustines, lobster, foie, turbot, sweetbreads.... All of them absolutely perfect. Caramelised on the outside, the correct degree of rareness in the middle, depending on the ingredient. And that is so difficult to find in London these days.

Some things were a touch underseasoned, but that could be corrected at the table. Conceptually, some dishes worked very well indeed. Others were a little strange (ie VERY cheesy gnocchi with the lobster)

Service was very friendly, and they certainly knew their stuff. It was pretty rammed though, and we did have to wait a while to order. And another gripe - no offer of tap water. Usually I would specify, but it seemed they were serving all tables from the same bottles of water, so I assumed it was included. But no - apparently we were served 6 bottles of the stuff, which cost £30...

That aside, I had a great time. Met Antonin Bonnet, the chef, who quite alarmingly shares the looks and mannerisms of a young Kevin Spacey! An interesting mix of leftovers from the Bjorn days (Snix salted caramel dessert; classic preparation of the day etc) and the touches of the new (evidence of his experience at Bras - plating, Aubrac meat, and his own obsession with Asian spices etc).

My food was:

Starter: Glazed langoustine with jerusalem artichoke veloute and roasted chestnuts.

The shellfish was cooked to perfection and full of sweetness. The veloute was excellent, if a tiny bit thin for me, and the chestnuts added some interesting flavour and texture. Served in a beautiful bowl, but I think it should have been poured tableside, as it wasn't piping hot when it arrived, and the bowl wasn't warm. And I'm fickle - I love that tableside presentation stuff.

Extra midcourse to share: Grilled foie gras on vine shoots spiced figs and ginger crumble

The best dish of the night for me. Foie cooked to perfection. The figs had been pickled. The acidity and sweetness paired very well with the foie, and the crumble had real ginger heat to it. You were left with a gentle aftertaste of the lime zest (or its Thai counterpart?) that had been grated on top. Excellent.

We were also given a little foie parfait freebie, that was also excellent. Similar in texture to the bain marie at Troisgros. Served with jerusalem artichoke foam, and pear.

Main: Roasted Aubrac veal chop baby carrots, lavender buds and rosemary honey

Again, cooked to perfection. But a little undersalted. And I think the Hibiscus version had more flavour. Carrots were lovely, and a little side dish of carrot puree and apple jelly (!) worked surprisingly well.

However, I though the side plates for other main dishes (lobster tortelllini with the lobster; cinammon couscous with the turbot) let them down. It was like they had been cooked by another person, and they didn't easily integrate with the rest of the dish.

Cheese - Bernard Anthony etc

50 month (!) comte was amazing. Bit off way too much on my first go and was completely overwhelmed. It's incredibly punchy stuff.

Other cheese were very good, and very intense. The Brie had a whipped consistency, and it tasted great.

Dessert: Pistachio millefeuille, with lots of other stuff I can't remember

Lovely pastry, but the pistachio flavour was muted, and overpowered by the citrussy flavours in other layers.

He clearly loves his nuts - the dessert choices were littered with them.

LOADS of little extras at the end. Which I didn't need, ate anyway, and then felt rough. Standard.

There are some criticisms, but they didn't detract much from the overall quality of the meal. I suspect michelin will do something with them in Jan - espoir or a second star.

I will definitely be back.

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  • 1 month later...

Aggravating meal here on Saturday, mainly down to service issues but I realise now that dining out on the last service before Christmas has to be a big mistake.

Arrived, were sat promptly and offered water. Waited 10 minutes (I didn't complain we were curious to see how long it was going to take) and were then given menus, apparently the delay was caused by the waiter having to carve pork at an adjacent table. Not a problem but there is a legion of staff in this room, why can't somebody else give us the menus, we still weren't offered an aperitif the service station was in touching distance and 3 or 4 waiters stood around it most of the night including senior members of the service team apparently blind to anything within 5 feet of them.

When our waiter returned and took our order he wandered off and I had to call him back to ask for an aperitif, he looked a little surprised and came rushing back with the champagne trolley, he had no idea of the prices "I don't normally do this"

The pork dish for two could apparently be served for one so that's what I ordered. When it arrived it had one cut instead of the advertised 3 or 4, so in effect a different dish. Rachel's Turbot was a thin fillet with the skirt attached and fanned out. We sat with our plates finished for 7 or 8 minutes before anybody thought to clear them.

When we were offered the dessert list I asked about the cheese board and in particular whether they had the BA Comte. I was told they did and it was 52 months old, I told him there and then that I had made up my mind but would wait for cheese/dessert until after we had finished our wine. When the cheese board arrived, I asked for the Comte only to be told there was none left. "I thought you said you had it?", "We did, but we haven't any more" Now I would have thought that after I had specifically mentioned this cheese that they might have thought to set it aside. Anyway, on a more positive note they did offer to get some from storage for me which I accepted even though it was a little cold.

Going back to the wine service this was seemingly being run by somebody with no interest (capability?) to suggest wines to match food. I asked for a half bottle of white to start and a suggestion for the pork and Turbot dishes. Somewhere along the line he suggested glasses of wine for the pork and Turbot, no problem there except the first glass for the Turbot was £25 and he didn't appear to have any alternative suggestion, red or white, for a more reasonable price, in fact I'm pretty certain his next suggestion was the same as a syrah he had suggested for me, in which case why didn't he suggest a bottle? He then went running of with the wine list and we had to ask somebody to fetch him so that we could point out that he still hadn't suggested anything for our starters. "Oh, I thought you only wanted one glass for the whole meal". Eventually I called the list back and changed the suggested wines for a bottle of my own choosing. Useless.

A taxi was prompt and clean, and for the 7 minute ride to Victoria £17.50 apparently something to do with it being a "corporate rate" so be warned and take your chances flagging one down in the street :wacko:

Aside from the service, the food was distinctly ordinary aside from Langoustines with a Jerusalem artichoke veloute and roasted chestnuts which was superb as was the quality of the pork. I'm pretty certain Bonnet wasn't in the kitchen. I'm not even going to bother commenting on it further and the kitchen can do far better though I'm not sure that the FOH staff can even outside of Christmas. Two out of three occasions here I have had service issues and when dinner costs the best part of £300 I expect more. I should have complained at the time but the other half was already pursing her lips at the room and I was doing my best to distract her though in hindsight I think a complaint would have done more to satisfy her pissed off feeling, it would have probably made me feel better as well. :angry:

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

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I had heard that! If the food had matched expectations a refurbishment might have been enough to get Rachel to go back but I fear her assertion that "I am never steping foot in that place again" was actually heartfelt and truthful :sad:

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

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  • 10 months later...

Was at the Greenhouse last week.

Bit of a roller-coaster experience. I had high expectations, but was disappointed overall.

The savouries were quite dull; the exception being:

Bresse pigeon breast; sweet corn purée, liquorice, purple tatsoi and land cress salad

The desserts, however, were excellent and included maybe the best souffle I have had this year:

Spiced parsnip and caramelised pecan nut soufflé; Bourbon barrel matured maple syrup

The restaurant is beautiful, the service was also great, up until the bill came and I was overcharged...

Lunch at the Greenhouse

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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I am a big fan of The Greenhouse, but I have to say it annoys me when they go to such effort to make great bread and then served it cold.

Normally don't get as far as pud!! Lovely whole sole served on the bone.... great to see waiters doing their thing at the table.

Also a very dodgy canape that when you bit in to it you get most of it on your lap.

Over great experience.

Was at the Greenhouse last week.

Bit of a roller-coaster experience. I had high expectations, but was disappointed overall.

The savouries were quite dull; the exception being:

Bresse pigeon breast; sweet corn purée, liquorice, purple tatsoi and land cress salad

The desserts, however, were excellent and included maybe the best souffle I have had this year:

Spiced parsnip and caramelised pecan nut soufflé; Bourbon barrel matured maple syrup

The restaurant is beautiful, the service was also great, up until the bill came and I was overcharged...

Lunch at the Greenhouse

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Andy,

Dodgy canape?

Does must be the beetroot cannelloni with parsnip Chantilly and beetroot coulis...and if you look at some of the pictures, you may be able to see a small white napkin placed to the top-right of the dishes. That was were I made a nice bloody stain with the coulis.

The Dover sole was not on that day, I believe it's one of the daily changing classics. However, I do love a good Dover sole.

But desserts were so very, very good!

What dishes have you especially enjoyed there then?

Andy and Muichoi,

Regarding the bread, I am not an expert of bread etiquette, but personally, I also like it hot.

Edited by Food Snob (log)

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I had a very pleasant lunch at The Greenhouse last week. Like most places, they do a good value lunch menu - £25 for two courses, £29 for three courses.

You also get the impression that they're not scrimping on it either, trying to provide an excellent service or meal regardless of what menu you go for (unlike some restaurants).

I think i was suckered in a little by the ambiance & great service because although the food was really interesting there were some elemental mistakes:

Soft boiled egg with teryaki jelly & japanese radish - a beautiful dish, but the radish was really difficult to eat, being in long thick strips. so why put it on the dish? (it was meant to be eaten!)

Roasted guinea fowl with caramelized oranges - it was delightful, but a touch underdone at the bone

banana doughnuts were great as were the plethora of petit fours. (I remember a time when you were lucky with 2 chocolate mints at the end of a meal. Now they just try and defeat you with countless sweeties. what's going on?)

Regardless, I would certainly suggest giving it a try for lunch.

Am off later this week to Helene Darroze, which should provide an interesting contrast.

Fergal

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What were the petit fours?

Were they different from the one I was served?

(My lunch at the Greenhouse)

I had two dishes from the lunch menu together with ALC and thought one was in keeping with ALC standard (the first starter), but the Lievre seemed a little simpler than the average dish, IMO.

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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We had the same Petit Fours with an additional chocolate square. We had 3 of each, even though there were 2 of us dining.

you're right about how they weren't exactly harmonious. but they're always welcome and you can pick & choose what's appealing!

As for the bread debate above - I thought they were excellent, especially the mushroom and mozzarella focaccia.

fergal

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  • 10 months later...

Had a great meal here a few weeks back. Service was great, much better than the first time round and in general the standards remained as high as when I first was here (sometime in May or so). Bread was excellent, and the whole meal was at least very good. Divine were a grouse, a truly outstanding warm foie gras, and easily the best cheese in England (on the same level as that of Passard's and Piege's at the Crillon). Wines were good, considering the budget limit I gave them, and in general, I have trouble again, with people who dislike it that much (that seems to become a common theme with restaurants I enjoy). The only issue I can see, is that first-time customers might not be treated as warmly as some. Apart from that, the meals here were so good, that I am going back very soon, so stay tuned.

Here's the review from my last meal.

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