Re-invented restaurant from Thomas Carr in new location a short walk from previous premises and new starred entry to the 2021 Michelin Guide
Thomas Carr is the new restaurant by its namesake and also named after the age of the building that now accommodates Chef Carr’s new restaurant, barely 100 metres from the old Olive Tree. Having moved premises it had to re-earn its Michelin star which it did do the following year in the 2021 guide. I wouldn’t say this is that surprising based on it being the same chef, pretty much the same team in a building literally on the same street as the old and with the same suppliers; as long as the kitchen was still based on equipment from 1873, I think they were safely to be on Michelin’s radar automatically. This 6-course tasting menu only supper at £95 proved to be a good offering, although not as strong as his previous menu at The Olive Tree.
White onion bread came with mussel butter and the almost earthiness of the mussel butter worked very well with bread I thought although some more bread offerings is always good to see as are canapes whenever posssible. An amuse bouche of saffron bisque with prawns, mussels, clams and tomatoes had a a delightful broth that was creamy and light at same time with a very good saffron flavour and vibrant seafood, although it is always never nice to bite in to a hefty piece of grit which I unfortunately had in one of my mussles.
Fennel cured Loch Duart Salmon with piccalilli mayonnaise, crispy salmon skin, cucumber and lemon, chive flowers was next. This was an utterly succulent salmon, with gorgeous pickling and the salty crunch of the salmon skin was a lovely touch. Bass was served with smoked mackerel dumpling, fennel & tomato dressing salami and tomato herb emulsion, tomato and sardine ketchup sturgeon leaf – beautiful fish, all worked beautifully with rich emulsion and a salty salami which were relieved by the fresh tomato and smoky ketchup. The fish incidentally came from Walrus fisheries.
Cod was served with Lundy crab, Lundy lobster tortellini, bisque, orange and basil. The meaty cod was delicately cooked with an excellent tortellini, a workable broth and what was an unexpectedly nice combination was the crab going together with the cod at the same time. At the start of the meal I honestly thought the price of the menu looked a little steep, bordering on expensive London prices, but then I understood better when I saw the quantity of lobster that made this one dish as an example.
The same can be said rgearding the surf and turf dish as I was presented with two slabs of Fillet beef with crispy, breaded oyster and oyster béarnaise. The beef was succulent, well cooked and with reasonable flavour and with a béarnaise that seemed to have tarragon notch turned even higher with the extra tang of the oyster béarnaise. Unfortunately I was approaching full capacity so I couldn’t finish it. I did actuallu think whether the addition of something lighter on the plate in addition to turning the quantity of beef and price tag both down at the same time may have perhaps helped here.
Chocolate tart with cherry, pistachio and a yoghurt sorbet was the first sweet and this was a superb chocolate dessert – silkly smooth and luxurious, offset by the yoghurt and given a kick from the cherry. Summer berries with champagne, elderflower and vanilla cheesecake purée was a very pleasant mix. I thought the berries and champagne jelly was the star here and a treat to mix with the lemon and cheesecake purée. Again, this was quite full as whole and perhaps one or two less heavy aspects off the plate may have made this more refined. One other thought I had was that I would have opted to have the desserts the other way round and finish on the heavier one last following a lighter introduction (rather than the other way round) like one enjoys within journeys of wine and cheese for example, but that may be just me.
All in all this was a pleasant way to finish off the day and the team could not have been more accommodating for squeezing me in at such short notice and dealing with my punctuality issues which I was very grateful for. This is a very close-nit team and it is evident this is the flag ship neighbouhood restaurant, who I have no doubt will keep on attracting regulars from the community for many more seasons to come.
Food Grade: 69%