Claude Bosi at Bibendum, South Kensington

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For what promised to be the occasion of a dinner, it is fair to say that our evening at Claude Bosi's Bibendum n 39 did not start well. When arriving a few minutes before our allocated 6:30 am reservation (look, I like to eat at first, OK?), The doorman seemed totally ill prepared for the possibility that not all guests would arrive exactly at the 39 and ordered us to hold us on hold – a pen from an empty bar where we sat cold and ignored while the basement staff had ordered us until we arrived at the time we tried our luck with Mr. Cheery in reception. Maybe this is also the fault of Bibendum as the doorman – they really need to figure out where to put people a little early, even a chair at the reception or a glass of water or something – but even so, it puts us at ease to have fun.

Once up however, safely after the bacon bouncer, the atmosphere was much more user friendly. First of all, and obviously, this is an absolutely beautiful room, arguably one of the most beautiful in London, and sits amongst the deep blue stained glass and carpets stuffed even by eating a cheese sandwich would feel like an occasion. Second, the front of the house is, each and every one of them, superb, and headed by a guy (who is called oblivion, sorry) who apparently worked for Sir Terence Conran in the same space when Bibendum opened its doors in the 1980s. Now, this is a pedigree.

We started with cashew nuts with powdered malt vinegar. This is a sign of the effort that is inspired by everything that has been used a smart and cheffy technique on something as simple as nuts to accompany your aperitif. These were obviously ridiculously addictive and I polished them in about 30 seconds.

Then a small bonzai olive tree with a few spoons of what looked first as normal black olives. Of course, they were not – they were very delicate frozen shells of juice olives, perhaps more impressive than delicious, but impressive nevertheless. I believe the original idea was to make them float on the branches of the tree itself, as a fun similar to the Catalan gastro-temple El Cellar of Can Roca, except in the first attempts, customers tried to tear the "olives" of the tree with enthusiasm and ended up covering themselves in goos of black olive.

Then, a small bowl of chicken skin and some sort of diving. I do not remember much of these things, to be honest, but I can not imagine we left.

It was gougère, beautifully warm and fluffy, and conveniently easy to demolish. I have never encountered a gougère that I did not like, so they are either fairly easy to get properly, or only the best operations, even try them in the first place. I guess the latter.

Miniature cones of ice cream with foie gras were the following, little things cleverly built, pretty as you like and dissolve in the mouth with a good fleshy flavor.

Then the pea and curry eggs, which looked at the part and no doubt, were doing a lot (there were several layers inside, bright yellow, pea puree and whole peas fresh), but in which the addition of coconut made everything a little, well, off. For all I know, there is somewhere else a combination of eggs, coconut and fresh peas that will not make me wish I had not eaten, but I fear that this is not the case. Still, the complete notes for experimentation.

Fortunately, the bread was ready to make up for the coconut knitting, not just the bread yeast provided by Hedone in Chiswick. It became the Done Thing to automatically call the best bread in London, and at the same time it may have been possible but the competition is such now that I'm sure to know some other bakeries that could give them a run for their money. It is always an excellent bread, and the good sweet butter with which it came was superb also (and even better with a little salt on top of one of their Bibendum cellars in heavy).

It should be noted that at this stage, we still have not received the first of the 7 tasting menu courses. Everything you think about the merit or otherwise to spend £ 200 at dinner, there's clearly a lot of work at Bibendum that has helped to provide extra bits, amusements and snacks, and lifestyle and style of service were impeccable. I can think of a few restaurants – and the other in South Kensington in particular – where you could spend at least that and have nothing, even as a chocolate truffle, in addition to the three menu items you ordered. Not so much here.

So the first course was crab with elderberry jelly and herbs from the sea. That was, I do not mind admitting, the first time I have ever eaten crab and mud clamp together, and also (not coincidentally) the first time I ate crab poultry jelly. So, maybe my not being completely interrupted with this is partly the shock of the new. It got better when you dug and the brown meat mixture at the bottom of the bowl became more important, but I still had trouble getting through the strange combination of fruits and seafood Interesting, but maybe not an experience I'd like to repeat.

Hibiscus had a good line in the asparagus dishes, and it is here in South Kensington, with that long meat lance (sorry, I do not know what happens), with a band of candied orange peel and what is described in my menu here as "Dutch Smoke Smoke", but actually tasted more like a kind of thick nut butter. Very well, anyway, and I also appreciated the signature knife Claude Bosi who was accompanying him.

It was a nice surprise when sampling these scallops with virgin strawberry sauce to discover that the scallops were slightly warmed; There is something about the cold feline that puts my teeth on the edge, and yet, in most places, that is exactly what you get. It was also pleasant to discover that the Herby, only a weakly framed sauce that covered them, was generous and complex; an attractive and enriching fruit of seafood.

The next course was an absolute cracker – a pretty piece of sea bream, geometrically exact with sharp edges, sitting on a morier rich in morels and tarragon. The fish itself, with its fine, clean skin and firm flesh, could not be defective, and the morel sauce was a classic and comfortable combination of flavors and textures. These are dishes like these that rather show tradition and direct experience …

The calf's bread, beautifully prepared with a thick and dark frosting of black garlic, was another large audience. Nothing too strange here, just a good slab of offal, cooked perfectly and a nice selection of mayonnaisey sauces to accompany it.

Then, more veal – Limousin I think, with a little pressed cucumber and a nice stock-y sauce. I will always be a fan of proteins that have been thrown over the charcoal, but that it was a very decent, not very good, but very easy to eat babies piece.

And finally, a cake with pea and chocolate, which sounds on paper, as it could be the most disruptive experimental dish of all and yet – in face, it must be said, of my own personal prejudices (j? have a long and unfortunate history with vegetables in the desserts) – it turned out to be completely shiny. The pea flavor was not generously tasty, it was just a slight mild plant note, and the sugar levels were judiciously judged to have the impression. If I had only to eat a vegetable as a dessert for the rest of my life, it would have to be that one (although it is true that it doesn ' there is not much competition on this front).

It would have been easier to write this publication to be able to pronounce merrily that when Bibendum stuck to the classic techniques and combinations of traditional flavors, dishes were more successful, or else, when they had the courage their beliefs and tried something new, the results were impressive. In fact, none of these extremes is true. In the end, a experimentation, such as pea pie and chocolate, was extraordinarily successful and something approaching an instant classic, while others, like the crab and the fern, fall flat. And in the same way, while the sea bream and morel dish used a proven flavor profile to a great effect, a rather humble little veal did not do much for me.

So it 's hard to know what' s of use, otherwise everything was a bit uneven: some bits were awesome, other bits were not so great, and everything was rather expensive. In fact, this seems disconcerting – it was, as I said earlier, thanks to the huge number of pieces and extra pieces, not cynically sought – but I do not want to end up having to use the word "Uneven" on the cost of dinner over £ 200 per head, no matter how much amused at the time. And if anyone came to me with £ 200 burning a hole in their pocket and asked them where they should spend, I am not sure that Bibendum, in its present form, would very strongly present the list.

But over there, what is currently a meal at Bibendum and maybe in the not so distant future, I will have reasons to see again and he will have really found his feet and will become one of the best restaurants in London. Until then, you are probably more likely to see me at Ledbury or the Clove Club the next time I feel a bit of haute cuisine; It is hardly Bibendum's fault that competition in London is so fierce at this time. But what luck we is that is.

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