Well I got to a ripe old age before I finally succumbed to a visit to a fancy dining restaurant to sample the tasting menu.
The restaurant I ended up at was 5 star Restaurant 56 in Faringdon Oxfordshire run by executive head chef Andrew Scott.
I was welcomed and offered a seat indoors or on the patio while I started the process
I chose the patio on this balmy June evening – overlooking the garden.
Next came the menu and the canapes even before I had chosen which way to go
You may have noticed I took the heathen choice and had a cider. The other couple eating that night had some sort of different drink to accompany each course. Can’t have been cheap.
Finally I chose the prime menu and was escorted back inside to my table
The restaurant was very quiet – just one other couple on a birthday treat (nobody sang happy birthday)
There were three very able servers along with 2 managers and assistants – I have no idea how the place makes a living.
Cutlery was brought for each course in a different box. The first box was a book and it was introduced as the start of the story.
Luckily they realised I was on my own and could get bored so I was also left a couple of magazines – one on wine and one on Art and antiques and homes etc. Amazingly it had 2 articles about Charleston House and the Bloomsbury set which is a house I guide at in Sussex.
Water – sparlking
I was offered water still or sparkling in a continually topped up decanter.
Was my first course consisting of lardo hazelnut and summer truffle gratings.
Very nice start although no idea what lardo is
Then came Rabbit twice with Rabbit pistachio and violet mustard. I didn’t manage to photograph the second way the rabbit came but it was in a sort of hot samosa – very nice. All worked well together and I found the rabbit to have a nice nutty taste although for the the pistachio was a little strong so I just cut down on it.
The posh cocktail was one Scottish Langoustine which was described as quality not quantity and crab meat. A very nice balanced dish
Creedy Carver Duck
The duck was beautiful with its chicory plumb and beetroot along with a pancake roll of shredded duck.
London Street Detox
I was rather wary of this as it looked like Bear Gryls weeee. It was actually very very nice and I could have had more. It came with a nice descriptive scroll about the process of its creation.
Now dessert was coming upon us along with a jovial place mat
I don’t like blue cheese but the combination of blue cheese and white chocolate along with the gooseberry jam and sauce and digestive biccies was just on the edge but also very enjoyable.
56 Pimms Cup
The Pimms cup was a delight with its fruis and sauces
Strawberry tart Basil Elderflower and Cambridge cream (whatever that is)was the final course
Definitely the best visually and I guess perfect taste wise. The ice cream was wonderful and the whole dish melted in the mouth
Bill – I asked for the bill but there was nothing as crude as to sign or pay for the food – just walk out and gets added to room
Tossed a tenner down for the service
Three hours or so later I was back in my room thoroughly stuffed but after a very theatrical and enjoyable experience