Saturday, 6 September 2008

La valle Blanche II.

The blog has been pretty quiet and it's because I have been pretty busy, eating some good stuff.

It started off with La Valle Blanche. John was up from London and we wanted somewhere nice to eat, so I suggested we go back here to see if things had improved. And I can tell you they have.

First, though we headed to Hotel Du Vin for some cocktails.

John in the manner of HI, is partial to a dry Gin martini and so he had one, which he declared excellent. I had a very good caipirinha and HI a smoking martini that unfortunately did not live up to expectations.

Suitably fortified we made our way to La Valle Blanche. The interior was as chalet chic as before and the music still suitably trendy. I had asked for a corner booth which we got and I have to say, I much prefer it to the centre. It was cosy, comfy and gave us some privacy. I thought that I noticed less staff on the floor, which I think is a good thing as before I thought it was a bit much. Even with reduced staff I thought managed to be pretty attentive. John noticed a bottle of his family’s favourite red, which he also noticed was marked up from £15 at Waitrose to £50 on the wine list. Still, full of bon viver we ordered it. We started off with some some Parmesan beignets or puffs as I prefer to call them.

Then our starters:

We had oysters, which were excellent and served with shallot vinaigrette, which is my favourite way. Either that or with lemon.

I had the potted rabbit which was moist and tasty but served with what looked like a dried out chapatti. I ended up leaving that and eating the rabbit with toast.

HI had a crab tartlet which again was excellent but served with an extraneous green sludge which was made up of cucumber and watercress. It sounds like a good idea but the tartlet didn’t need it.

Our mains were equally good if not better.

John and I decided to share a Chateaubriand which was served perfectly cooked, medium rare and tasted great. There even was an added bonus in the form of some roasted bone marrow, which was not even mentioned on the menu. It was very St John.

The star dish however was HI’s veal. It came with the best sweetbreads I have ever eaten. They were kind of crispy on the outside but creamy on the inside. His veal was tasty too and served with a creamy creamy pomme puree that must have been made with Robuchon's in mind.

We finished off with some puddings

From closest to furthest away: warm chocolate fondant, pistachio souffle and lemon posset. Both John and I had order envy. It would seem HI had picked two winners in the form of the veal and the posset. Bah.

Well and truly satisfied.. If the sweetbreads and bone marrow are anything to go by it would seem Neil has his finger on the pulse, as the use of these once discarded bits of animal is very trendy at the mo, esp in the Big Smoke down South.
I think I will have to come back. I might even add it to my list of favourite places? Maybe..we shall see.

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