Superb pre-theatre (Barbican) at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms
A strange start to a superb pre theatre meal as Chiswell street is bustling with commuters (lots of lawyers) and is fairly soulless. You enter on te corner of what looks like an office from the outside through what looks like a friendly local as you step through the door into the main dining room - a bit officey so the ambience is only ok. We arrive at 1730 so it was nice and quiet - when we left there was a steady stream of folks walking through to the private dining areas and it became noisy due to low ceiling and hard floors. Now the good news....
Service was impeccable. The wine comes by the glass and whilst my first choice had run out the alternative f a glass of Semillon was superb (the best wine I had all day having spent six hours on a wine tasting course!). The waiter was friendly and attentive. lovely warmed half loaf was ready whilst we perused the menu. Plenty of choices and a cut above all the nearby competition (we tried Cote and Searcy's in the same week and Bonfire the week before.. the latter is not fir foodies). I settled on the crab and salmon starter - always a tricky combination - delivered flawlessly with a layer of sweetened (enriched with something!) brown crab meat and supported by soused cucumber and herbs. With the Semillon I felt like a King ... appropriate as we were off to see Richard II. My wife's beetroot and goat's cheese starter was beautifully presented and the beetroot was crisp and unpickled - hoorah!
My main course was "Cauliflower and winter truffle risotto, Blue Monday, salt baked celariac" and was again beautifully presented and the cooking absolutely spot on: risotto rice had bite, sauce was creamy but not cloying, there was real depth in the celariac, the blue cheese was in bits there were big enough enough to taste but not so big that they overpowered. Clearly they have an accomplished chef and we sent our compliments.
I was hoping that my desert of "Guanaja chocolate and salted caramel tart, pistachio, boozy cherries" would maintain this high standard and it really did. Everything about this desert was spot on; it sounds easy till you see how others attempt it. The base was thin and crispy, the chocolate intense but light, the salted caramel not overdone and the little cherries were alcoholic but not over powering. On a par with a Michelin restaurant in my view.
We enthused about the meal as we departed, full but far from bloated. A superb pre theatre meal which is well worth the premium over other nearby establishments. [My wife agrees with this assessment and yes, I have no connection with the h establishment].