Tag Archives: toptable

This little piggy went to market…

Borough Market used to be a weekly haunt of mine when I lived south of the river, but since affecting to North London I seem to have neglected it totally. However, another great toptable deal gave me the perfect excuse to get my ass down to Roast, a meat orientated restaurant situated in the floral hall above the market.

Me and my friend Hannah were taking advantage of the 3 course market menu at £26, which I realised after looking at the prices on the rest of the menu, was a very good deal indeed.

We were served a basket of delicious bread from the Flour Power City Bakery, who have a couple of stalls in Borough Market as well as a few other locations in and around London. Bread and butter are my nemeses, in hindsight I wish I’d been able to resist them or at least refuse the top up from our very attentive waitress. I just wasn’t aware how much food there was to come…

For my starter I had a pot of pickled Dorset herrings with beetroot, sour cream and horseradish. I’m a real sucker for kilner jars and was totally won over on first appearances. However, it not only looked amazing but the little jar was chocka block full of flavour and delicate, melt in the mouth herrings…

Han opted for pressed ham hock with toast and picalilli. And despite the fact that the toast actually turned out to be bread and the picalilli portion was a little stingy, she was very impressed…

I chose my main on the grounds that it came with a ‘Franconian cheese sausage’, which intrigued me…German sausage plus cheese…a match made in heaven surely?

The complete dish was grilled saddleback bacon chop with aforementioned Franconian cheese sausage, crabapple jelly and chips, which were served in their own little deep frying basket…

I would liken the sausage to a cooked Polish kabanos with veins of cheese running through it, weird but wonderful!

Hannah had the pot roast featherblade of beef with caramelised onion and thyme dumpling, which was so tender and succulent that it fell apart, no knife required!…

We were pretty full at this stage (darn that bread!) but as usual, I’d already eyed up the dessert menu and knew I’d regret not sampling it. It was a nightmare for a dessert loving, indecisive diner like me as everything just sounded soooo good. I decided to forego the Cornish Yarg cheese (one of my favourites) and instead chose the perfect dessert for a cold, wet, January evening…rhubarb, bramley apple and almond crumble with English custard…

Hannah was nearly passing out from over indulgence so chose what she hoped would be the smaller, lighter, but no less tastier option of lemon posset with vanilla thins…

We savoured our puds in silence, wishing that we could somehow be transported magically back to our sofa’s without having to brave the nasty weather. Unfortunately that’s not yet included in the service at Roast. They were very accomodating and welcoming but as yet don’t provide food coma recovery beds!

I’m sure I’ll be back again soon to sample their breakfast menu or just to savour one of their legendary Lorne sausage Scotch eggs and a few cocktails in the bar

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The poshest arctic roll I’ve ever eaten

Yesterday, found Kim and I, courtesy of Toptable, on another of our monthly fine dining experiences. I was very excited to be visiting the Grill at the Dorchester as it’s a bit of a London institution. The actual restaurant is a funny old place though. It’s a riot of gold bling, tartan fabric, red velvet sofas, vast vases of deep red roses and to top it off the walls are painted with murals of angry looking, windswept, intimidating scotsmen and women. 

I’d done my homework and read some reviews, which helpfully warned us not to be tempted by the champagne trolley that they wheel around to tempt you with before your meal and there was also a recommendation to opt for the 3 course set menu as opposed to 2 as it comes with quite a few extras. Oh boy were we in for a treat….

First off we were served a platter of speciality breads and rolls including stilton (mmmmm), multi-seed and rye and an amuse bouche of smoked salmon with a pea foam – 

The starters all sounded so good that we ordered 2 out of the 3 on the menu and went halves on the english asparagus topped with a poached pheasant egg and hollandaise sauce – 

and the roasted mackerel on toast with a quenelle of crab mousse, topped with pea shoots – 

We both decided on the rump of lamb with a basil and garlic risotto. It came with kidneys, which I made myself try thinking that my tastes may have grown up but….no I still don’t like them! and an unidentified meat dish, which we think was duck but texture wise can only liken to pulled pork – I’m not doing it justice in my description but it was extremely rich and tasty. I just wish I’d noted the description off the menu as it’s annoying me now that I don’t know what it was. It will remain a mystery for all time.

The lamb was cooked to perfection and accompanied by a lovely glass of Baron Philip de Rothschild Mouton Cadet “Origin” Pauillac 2006.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were presented with a pre-desert of (posh) arctic roll topped with strawberries and jelly. Who’d have thought we’d be served jelly and ice cream at the Dorchester – I’m such a pleb that I have to admit, it was actually my favourite part of the meal 🙂

The waiter wasn’t much use in helping us decode the desert menu but all was forgiven when he brought me out the sabayon parfait, a delicious, extremely light, frozen custard – 

and a banana financier served with praline and ice cream for Kim – 

By this point we were fit to burst but still managed to put away some home made petit fours – it’d be rude not to wouldn’t it??

And the best bit…..we only paid £33 for all of the above including service! God bless Toptable!

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