Tuesday 22 April 2008

A maxi-adventure: Part VI: La Trompette

This was the third time we had been to La Trompette, but only the first since it got it's Michelin star, and I wondered how, if at all , it had changed. The first time we had eaten there I remember thinking how good the food was, and really liking the set up.

I therefore felt reassured that Michelin thought so too.

The only thing that had perturbed me the first time round, and indeed all three times, was the service. Now, it is somewhat similar to Martin Wishart, another one star in Edinburgh, in that they have a different person for the bread, the water, the wine, the food etc. But where the two restaurants differ is that at La Trompette it takes them an inordinate time to get the food on the table.

Our reservation was at 9.30pm and while we were by no means ravenous it was quite late for us to be eating.
London it would seem, really is European in that respect. Us Northerners usually eat at the ungodly hour of 7pm 7.30 pm at the latest. So, we knew what we were in for, and whilst not hungry we did not expect to have to wait till 10pm to have our orders taken. Our starters arrived at 10.30, and granted once the first plate was on the table the rest of the meal was paced correctly.
We mulled over this alot the next day. Was it because it was a French restaurant and in keeping with the French way of having long drawn-out meals, it was part of the dining experience? Was it because we didn't have an aperitif (having had a bottle of champagne at home)?

I would have thought that there would be enough flexibility in a restaurant of this standard to move to the next phase accordingly.

The other thing that bugged me slightly was that during our half an hour wait we were given the bread basket only once. If we had been given it twice during this time, we would have felt less neglected. The second offer of bread came with the starters which seemed a bit redundant by that point if you ask me.

Anyway, I thought I would get my really rather small gripes out the way allowing me to heap praise on the food.

Cannelloni of rabbit and morels with broad bean puree and white asparagus

This was the starter I really wanted but there was none left! The greedy mothers..

Soft polenta, English asparagus, cured ham, poached egg, black truffle and olive dressing

Neill and I both had this and although the asparagus was sweet and fresh, the yolk intensely yellow and the combination perfect I wish I had gone with my original thought-the soup

Potato and leek broth with new season morels, wild garlic and croutons

This was amazing- I had order envy.

Boudin blanc with sauteed spinach, madeira sauce and pistachio nuts

HI loved this and declared it one on the best dishes of the weekend.


Duck magret, braised savoy cabbage, cassoulet of tarbais beans, bacon and duck confit

both the boys ordered this, and whilst they enjoyed it I think that the beef and lamb outshone the duck

Roast fillet of beef, shallot puree, oxtail ragout, persillade of snails, red wine sauce (+£5.00)

Excellent, beef was bloody, tender, tasty, well seasoned with good browning.

The snails were tender are garlicky, just as they should be and the shallot puree and oxtail ragout, so rich and tasty, they were heaven on my tongue.

Glazed shoulder of lamb, aubergine, chickpeas and cumin, herb yoghurt, pine nuts and panisses
This was excellent.Again I had order envy! My beef was excellent too, but a French classic, this was an example of a more exotic cuisine done to Michelin standard. Unfortunately, the photos we took were quite shaky due to the low light level, so you will just have to just ahve to use your imagination!


Tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream
My most disappointing dish. I make this at home and much prefer my version, better butter puff pastry and and thinner apple layer.

Creme brulee with rhubarb and ginger compote and warm spiced madeleines

I think Emma would agree with me , in that our puddings were the weakest of the three courses.

Iced yuzu parfait with mango sorbet and passion fruit

this was stunning, light and refreshing. The best out the puddings and not just because the others were lacking.
Cheese from the board (supp. £5.00)Comte, Vacherin, a Scottish blue I had not heard of, and two others,

All in all I think La Trompette gives amazing value for money. Michelin standard food in London and £37.50 for 3 courses with a bottle of water at £3.50.

You could spend a lot more and get a lot, lot worse.

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