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|Address:||28 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 7EH|
|Tel:||020 7499 9943|
|Price: £68.00||Wine: £27.00||Champagne: £79.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri, Sun 12N-2.45pm (Sun -3.45pm) Mon-Sun 6-10.30pm (Sun -9.15pm)|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
I last ate in Corrigans a year ago, and have spent the last year singing its praises to all & sundry. I was a little alarmed to read some of the recent negative reviews on this site, but nonetheless set off for dinner on Saturday night with happy anticipation.
We were greeted by a veritable gaggle of friendly, glamorous front -of -house girls, one of whom rushed outside with my man to help him repark the car with less risk of towing/ticketing. One of my new BFs then showed us to our table, which was one of a row of tables opposite the bar area before the main restaurant space – which had been part of the bar area on our last visit. It was fine for a late booking.
The service was attentive and prompt but not rushed. The setting is comfortable luxury without bling, the lighting is nicely subdued and a lively but muted buzz fills the place: you can relax back easily and hear yourself talking rather than drowned in sound or pins dropping.
The house champagne is delicious, and is served in the same unusual glasses that Texture use, giving a generous 150ml measure I would guess rather than the regular 125ml. The amuse-bouches were warm: a large green olive, stuffed with goats cheese and lightly crumbed & deep-fried – really good – and some dainty discs of cheese sable which were tasty but a little greasy.
Our starters were suckling pig ravioli with roasted lobster (how good does that sound? music to my ears) & fried duck egg with ceps & acorn-fed ham. Mine was a stonker – a perfect giant ravioli stuffed with lots of succulent, slow-cooked mini-pig, topped with a good chunk of juicy lobster still in its shell chopped from the fattest part of the body, all decorated with half the crispy coppery head of the lobster (minus whiskers): just stunning looks and flavours. I shared a forkful with my man. ‘How do you think the lobster is cooked?’ he asked. ‘Roasted’ I said. ‘How do you know?’ 'I read the menu'…
The duck egg was very good, a runny-yolked egg on a decent helping of well-seasoned ceps cooked to the right balance of soft chewiness, but the curl of acorn-fed ham was a garnish-sized rosette rather than a proper ingredient of the dish. Pricey at £15 (my pig & lobster combo being a relative bargain at £14), but with fresh ceps at a constant hefty cost, not a rip-off.
For mains, I chose a daily special: “day-boat” sole with roasted artichoke and preserved lemon, and my man had poached haddock with Indian-spiced pilau rice. The latter looked quite dull being entirely muddy-beige coloured but it tasted subtly delicious. it was served in a large dish with a small soup-bowl indent in the middle which was annoying to eat out of with a fork and knife. An honest but rather earnest thing. The sole was spankingly fresh and immaculately cooked (I'm not sure about the ‘day-boat’ tag: all good fresh fish is caught and brought back daily surely? Scallops are more usually described as ‘day-boat’ to distinguish extra freshness over the common collection method). It had a little puddle of chive beurre blanc sauce which I wished was a little pond it was so good. I also wished I'd had the other half of the solitary elegant baby artichoke served: another garnish posing as a costituent of the dish. The preseved lemon was a softly citric heap, not over-acidic, which worked wonderfully with the fish and artichoke.
The side orders: the waiter warmly recommended the buttered curly kale (we like our greens) and goose-fat chips. They didn't go with our fish but we LOVED them, just for themselves. The kale had a good amount of Cashel Blue cheese melted through it (my precise suspicion confirmed by the passing waitress I collared) which took kale to a new, good place. I don't like unannounced added ingredients that dramatically alter dishes however. The goose fat chips were some of the best chips we have ever had. I rated them a 9/10 – only because they could have been left another 30 seconds or so in the fryer to achieve chip paradise. ‘A high nine’ said my man, happily ruminating. We ate the side orders as an extra course really.
I had the chocolate dessert described baldly as ‘Venezuelan chocolate and Tonka bean’ on the menu. I was full, but curious – ok, greedy. It wasn't what I expected, but then I didn't know what to expect. It was ok, the superior ingredient parts were better than the whole. The petits fours with my man's coffee were much better.
The sommelier found us good wines to go with the food despite the tall order of such disparate flavours in our food order. Towards the end of the evening, we felt cold and the waiter apologised for the draught from the front door comings and goings. A glass of complimentary dessert wine arrived as an apology for being bothered by the brief draughts, which was a nice gesture.
We had a wonderful evening: near-perfect on all counts. The cooking is faultless and well-judged. There's lots of choice on the menu, with plenty of seasonal dishes and many expensive ingredients used with flair. The keynote in Corrigans is subtlety. The apparent simplicity of the food allows the brilliant cooking and flavours to shine but hides the sophistication of the skills and complex techniques behind the finished dishes. The decor and the service mirror the upmarket subtlety of the menu.
The whole concept really works for me. Ratings are nines rather than tens on food/drink & value for money, mainly for the meagre portions of ham/artichoke purporting to be a real ingredient, and that a wild salmon with sea greens main course was £40 which just seemed too steep. And pudding ok rather than divine. Wild horses will not keep me from coming back much sooner than next year.