As soon as we were seated, we were greeted warmly by everyone who passed by. Our drinks order was taken and it was confirmed that we'd be having the degustation menu and were pretty much at the mercy of the kitchen! I think it would have been nice to see a menu so we knew what to expect or be able to read descriptions of our dishes. However our waiter Gary, was great at describing the dishes to us each time they came out.
Bread was a seaweed bread with a cod roe butter - salty and slightly reminiscent of the sea it was darn tasty.
The veggie dish was Jerusalem artichoke, parsnip, smoked walnut, toursi onion, kalamata olive with some chestnut sauce and a chestnut jelly oh and some grains too. Fresh sweet vegetables, salty olive and some toastiness from the grains.
The two dishes came together well and were a good light start to the banquet ahead.
Hapuka - Trahana, parsley, strawberry clams, maratho, kalamares, lahano. Sweet hapuka steamed just so it was cooked so it was still moist - deliciously fresh and yummy.
And we turned the autumnal and comfort food feel a notch or two up with venison - Leg, fakes, patzari, mastica, spiced chocolate pastelaki, raspberry. Gamey and lean with tasty lentils this continued the feast of delight. The little pearls of raspberry gel and the spiced chocolate is the modern molecular gastronomy touch I guess but the root of the dish was still firmly grounded in the familiar and I liked this combination of modern and tradition.
So then we moved into heavy, hefty, protein territory with Wagyu - 24 hour oyster blade, flank, olive oil puress, heirloom carrot. We were also treated to some rare Wagyu steak which we notice no one else received!
This dish was decadent, luxurious and all a but much! It was delicious but hard work to get through it. I was worried that we had reached the end of our tummies' capacity and the pleasure factor had now gone out of eating...so let's take a quick break away from the food.
He sang whilst he worked and it was obvious he loved what he was doing. Watching the kitchen was mesmerising and things did get pretty frantic at various points. Chef held it altogether (although he did get a little shouty) as did another chap (we later learnt he was Glen and was GM of the Made Establishment who own the restaurants) who seemed to direct dishes to the wait staff to distribute.
Sitting at the Chef's Table we came to learn people's names, and we could see who was good and who was not quite as good! Poor Peter - it was his first night and he struggled at times with the pace and knowing the dishes. Our waiter Gary was great as was a lady called Katie. We were introduced to George the GM (as well as George C of course) and Glen who was helping out at the pass in his dapper suit. It was great to see all things come together. I just wanted to jump in and get involved and help out!
Anyway as I said earlier we were getting pretty full now. Our next course was what they called a refresher and it was a piece of blackcurrant meringue, lime gel, lychee sorbet and freeze dried lychee. Incredibly cold and zingy it really refereshed the palette and after that little taster we were ready to go again! Amazing!
I think this dessert was what we were meant to have as part of the degustation menu but because my inside voice had externally voiced that I wanted one of the beautiful souffles earlier in the night and Gary had heard me, meant we were also treated to one of these works of art - Soufflé - Passionfruit, rhubarb, caramelised filo. It was like eating passionfruit clouds; just amazing and so light on the stomach.
In spite of having eaten so much, we still felt great. So much so we rounded the night off with an espresso martini and some port and we also met up with some friends and had a few more drinks. Now usually after such a menu, Steve and I just want to go home and rest but after this meal we still felt active and energetic which was great. I think the buzzy atmosphere and the bright lights of the Chef's Table helped.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Press Club experience and cannot wait to repeat it! The food, whilst perhaps not quite as adventurous as Attica or even Cutler and Co the night before was just so delicious. Plate after plate that came out was of such a high standard and whilst we benefitted from some perks by being close to the kitchen, I know for sure that quality across the board was high.
I liked the fact that the food flavours were homely with a touch of the familiar. I like that it was about the produce with just small nuances of the modern worked in seamlessly. I understood where this food came from and could feel the roots of it and it didn't leave me confused. We loved the personal and passionate service and we truly had a great time.