Sunday 4 May 2008

Hotel Du Vin.

We had been looking for a reason to go back as the cocktail list there is probably the best in Glasgow, so when the meal was cancelled last Friday we had said to ourselves we would go there for dinner this Saturday.

We got here an hour early to allow time for one or two libations.

An Aviation and a Smoking Martini.

Now, if you have read my previous post you will know that Choiti took points off for them not taking their coats when they arrived. The first time we went they did, but this time they didn't. A little inconsistent and a seemingly trifling matter but nonetheless-points off.
The cocktails were good but perhaps not so perfect as the last time and HI mourned the absence of his friend behind the bar.

An Afternoon Tea and a Sazerac

For more about the Smoking Martini, Aviation and Sazerac I recommend you read the Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan

The service was a little insistent, I think we almost threw them off their game by having a second cocktail thus delaying them taking us to our table.
The set up is that they give you the menus whilst you sit and take your order prior to you being shown to your table. A little bizarrely our waiter said that the right hand side of the menu had Michelin level food on it whilst the left hand side of the menu had more mainstream bistro style food. However, when I earywigged as to what other people were being told this helpful fact was omitted. I don't think I have ever been anywhere that has made their aspirations so clearly known. I found it be bit a little lacking in taste.
Anyway, our table was in a different room to before and was positioned by he window which, as it was a lovely evening, allowed us to enjoy the last of the sun. We were sat opposite to each other as opposed to at right angles but fortunately there was enough room between us and the other tables that I didn't feel they would hear us as we shouted across the table to each other.

The bread was warm and soft and I presume fresh and the butter soft although not salted.

The amuse bouche a vine-tomato gazpacho with what seemed a frozen cube of tomato in the middle.

I know that some places serve it with an ice-cube in to keep the temperature down but it ended up diluting what was otherwise an intensely summery tomato dish.

HI had the 'sauteed Languostine tails with spiced bread, ginger carrots and black pudding bonbon'

which was pronounced by him as one of the best dishes he has had this year, and given that he is not that fond of Langoustine, is high praise indeed.

I had the 'Scottish lobster and chorizo ravioli with glazed fennel, kolhrabi puree, mussel beignet and cumin air' which also was excellent.

As you will notice the use of foam or 'air' features highly in this menu. The cumin air tasted of such but the subsequent 'airs' were farcical in their quantity and tasted of just that-air.

Our mains were accompanied by these 'Pommes Pont-Neuf' ie square cut chips cooked in Goose fat.

Very nice they were too. Worth £3.25? mmh, pushing it a bit me thinks.

I had the canon of new season lamb, goat's cheese emulsion, vine tomatoes, white anchovy, potato and herb gnocchi

This was very good. The Lamb, if I am not mistaken was cooked sous-vide, but this fact was not mentioned on the menu. I wonder if they thought that that plus the idea of lamb and goat's cheese would be too much. It was a modern take on the good old lamb-anchovy combo, and with the gnocchi, one that worked very well.

HI had the 'saddle of french farmed rabbit with barley risotto and sauternes sauce'. This was also very good.

And yes those are the little Rabbit's kidneys!

You might wonder why I did not have the rabbit given my foodgasm moment with said creature at the Devonshire. Well, it came down to food bartering. If I had the Rabbit, HI would have ordered the Pork Belly, which I didn't want. However, if I ordered the Lamb I knew he would order the Rabbit. Clever, huh?

We were pretty impressed by the food and the service so far. The puddings came and we realised it had been too good to be true. Whatever finesse had been shown with the starters and mains was missing when it came to the puddings, or at least my pudding. This was a disappointment as the pudding HI had the last time, some sort of Hibiscus, Pistachio and Rosewater creation was inspired, light and moreish.

I don't like Rum Babas anyway so am biased to begin with, but my pudding was not only ugly but too big and left me with the taste of Terry's chocolate orange in my mouth.

Not good if it's not Christmas.

Valrhona dark chocolate and orange siphon with pear sorbet and wait for it cappucino air!!

So, would I come back?
Yes I would, but they are charging Michelin prices without the star and they need to sort the puddings out.

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