We've discovered that snow is a good thing. Or any other cause of "transport chaos" which leads to lots of people working from home unexpectedly. Unable to go to Chez Bruce due to a friend's illness, we still wanted to go out, and started to ring around. Pied a terre could fit us in, and so began the most expensive evening of my life.
Something comes over Hungerpang around his birthday (for it was this meal, and I was paying). Something competitive, something "let's see just how high a bill can go"-ish. To be fair, on this occasion we were in need of cheering ourselves up, and we decided to blow economy. We ordered 3 separate half-bottles - champagne, mas de domas gassac white, red burgundy, and some glasses of dessert wine, turning down the recommended PX as we've got exactly that bottle lying around the kitchen.
Choosing from the a la carte menu, we swapped plates as usual. This was cooking at its most high-falutin. The amuse-bouches came on a very fancy presentation stand - one multilayered cube, one shot of carrot foam, one wafer, one baby american muffin (cheesey). If I put a whole paragraph into describing them, I might be able to convey the complexity on display here. Equally, there aren't enough hours to describe all the aspects of the full dishes. My scallops etc. etc. were beautifully matched. Hungerpang's trout and crab ravioli came with an exciting fennel emulsion, which he wasn't much enamoured with. Emulsions, foams and purees were much in evidence. They are undoubtedly very clever, but not very satisfying.
Can't remember main courses, except that Hungerpang went for pig lots of ways. There was head, belly, maybe black pudding. Something in there he rated "best ever morsel".
Then we had cheese. Then desserts. Then coffee and petit-fours.
But still, £325 was a lot of money for a mid-week dinner for two.......
Funny, isn't it. Probably the most exciting meal we'll have this year, but very difficult to remember 2 months later what the fuss was about.