Counter dining at a unique venue with a vast collection of small dishes for a tasting menu option only, overlooking chefs preparing the meal.
My second visit to Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs proving that it is superb option for theatre, a unique setting and with numerous dishes where he head chef (James Knappett) has chosen ingredients that are utterly fresh, clean and simply go very well together. I love the fact that all dishes are not overly complicated but pwerful at the same time and I was glad to see some of the favourites staying as signature dishes (chicken skin amuse bouche and potato crisp with salmon). I thought the oysters with granita ice and grape was the freshest I have ever had and the pumpkin puree with truffle was a total delight and one I will not forget.
The price tag with matching wines remains fairly tasty as well at £210 per head so I would I say that this is better suited for a special occasion and the added element of theatre watching the staff and having each dish explained by the head chef is uniquely worth it, along with a superbly chosen matching wine and drink menu. I say theatre as is always nice seeing the experts in action and on this occasion James Knappett was quite aminated with a member of staff at one point (who had not prepared something) which actually made mt slightly uncomfortable as a diner as the atmosphere was uneased by the head chef’s burst. I don’t know whether this is common, but would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that might be possible on one’s visit.
Another quality meal had here and my sincere thanks to James Knappett’s other half for her wonderful hospitality, the remaining staff for looking after us so well and James for producing such a quality meal again. This is a definite treat to have in London and remains a lovely option to have for a notable occasion.
Food Grade: 88%
Genuine happy moments experienced here on this visit to conclude eating in all Michelin starred venues in London once again (as the final promotion from 2015 to be done). As an immediate orientation, one has to walk through Bubbledogs to the back of the restaurant through a set of curtains in order to get to the counter dining table running all around the kitchen rather like the downstairs area of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in West Street. I have put a detailed run down of the dishes served on this menu at the expansion button for this tasting menu only experience (at £88 food) which changes daily, but, my summary is that this was comfortably in the top quadrant of all 1 Michelin starred restaurants in London and I had fireworks in the mouth at the chicken skin, rosemary mascarpone and bacon jam course – truly wonderful food moment. All the courses were delicately prepared and had technical skill that was obviously above its 1 star contemporaries and it was fun having the head chef (James Knappett) explain each course to the entire half of the table.
For this reason, be aware you are holding up others if you are late(!) as guests dine together in batches. Seeing the dishes being prepared is always interesting and having the chefs on hand to ask any questions is a unique and comfortable experience. The only main downside I found was the fact that if you are dining in the far ends of the table, you may very well end up needing to move off your seat and walk to the far end in order to allow other diners to visit the restroom (or go outside for a cigarette) in order to get passed.
First up was the parkerhouse roll to mop up the smoked brill roe, paprika, brown butter which was an instant it in the mouth and lovely opener. Then the chicken skin, rosemary mascarpone with bacon jam was an asbolute gem, the liked of which don’t occur very often. The potato puff, smoked salmon, sour cream, chive, brown sugar was a clever and light option and play on the ingredients that was nicely done. This was then followed by the maylor shrimp, brown butter, yuzu, fennel pollen, dill, bittercress and seabeans which were powerful in their flavours; the shrimps were gorgeously tender and the brown butter sauce with yuzu and dill were utterly sublime additions.
The brill, turnips, miso and lemon packed a punch with the miso and the fish itself was beautifully cooked with lovely picked slices of turnip as well. Perigord truffle risotto, wild garlic, egg, morels and parmesan formed the next dish which I have to say was utterly sublime, especially with the Chiante Riserve that Sandia (the head chef’s wife) recommended. Next came the carrot, crème fraiche, barley, sorrel, rape, chicken eldercaper sauce which had a simple purity with lively textures.
Then on to the meat: the beef, pontact sauce, tarragon, pickled walnut, panko, jersey royals and horseradish was utterly sublime with a very strong, accompanying sauce. The purposefully provided fat on the beef was just grand and perfectly judged in quantity. The coolea cheese, chicory marmalade with rye was a beautiful and simple way of having a cheese course – strong flavour without being overpowering.
The desserts were different and enjoyable. The balsamic ice cream, truffle, Jerusalem artichokes wer erefreshing and suprisingly subtle as I was actually bracing myself for the sharpness but somehow this was nicely dealt with. The caramel textures, coco crumbs, milk ice cream, and hazelnut were very refreshing and the damson seed, brown butter cake had a pleasing warmth to and balance. The last bouts came with the liquorice ice cream, chocolate and beetroot that was very well toned and portioned, but the final explosion came with the salted Madagascar vanilla fudge which I honestly could have had another 5 portions of as it was that good – so creamy, subtle, velvety and outright gorgeous. I believe this is the chef giving a guaranteed feel good factor at the end of the meal to secure a leaving smile.
This is certainly the way I left and James Knappett produced a menu just for that day that was frankly superb. If this is the general produce for one day, then another visit here is an absolute given and next time with matching wines to gain the full experience and see which courses are the signature repeat favourites. I have full confidence that coming here on any occasion will produce a very satisfying experience and I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to treat myself, as this is the perfect place to do so. Well done James, great show.
This was an impressive meal – relaxed, fun, hospitable and with some absolutely great products (favourites being the chicken skin, steak main and madagscan vanilla petit four – worth the visit for that alone!).
Food Grade: 88%
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