The Greenhouse, London, 9/14/2017 (8-Course, £85 – Taste of Summer, incl. VAT), French, Michelin 2-Star
Since Greenhouse first opened its door in 1977, it has been an established with a long and successful history in Mayfair section of London. The current chef Arnaud Bignon got the restaurant the 2nd star after his arrival. He was the head chef at Spondi in Athens (I visited in 2014) and was Eric Frechon’s sous-chef at 3-star Epicure (I visited in 2013) in Paris for 7 years.
The restaurant offered a very competitive “Taste of Summer” menu, probably in response to the newly opened competitor Sketch. It was comprised of 6 courses and I requested for an addition course from the a la carte menu.
1).Iberico ham Penna cotta was served on top of a thin waffle. Melon jell made of cantaloupe contributed the refreshing taste to balance the taste of ham.
2).Prawn dumpling wrapped in rice paper with shrimp egg, mayo, yuzu and paprika inside. This was more sophisticated than the shrimp dumpling in Chinese Dim Sun. Using mayo probably help to keep prawn tender and juicy. The touch of yuzu made this a Modernist’s invention. The hint of little paprika provided a little kick in the taste bud. Later in the evening, I found out this product was in Chef’s experiment and creativity pipeline.
3).Champignon de Paris. Mushroom and minced ginger were wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Although “Paris” was part of the name of this course, the type of mushroom used was Chinese wood ear mushroom. Wood ear mushroom is a very healthy produce to eat, it cleans out the toxic element in your body.
4).Roasted artichoke served on artichoke purée with coconut and maple syrup foam. Roasted artichoke was a good bond with the slightly sweet syrup foam.
In the bread basket, there were sourdough, multi-grain and feuilletine (look like brioche). I decided feuilletine would be the only type of bread that I had for the evening, served with unsalted butter and seaweed butter. It was made from light spelt flour and coated with brittle, crispy flakes with caramelized and praline flavor. It was light, buttery and delicious, usually seen only in professional pastry kitchens. I had to restrain myself from eating more. This was my 2nd favorite.
1st Course – Dorset Crab, Mint/Cauliflower/Granny Smith Apple/Apple
This was one of chef’s signature dishes, it was served as per my special request. Dorset crab came in fleshy bites in lump. It was moisture and packed with plenty of flavor just the crab itself. In addition, this course came with multiple layers, cauliflower mouse, mint jelly, apple foam, diced granny smith apple and mild curry dressing. The spicing was subtle, mint flavor was not overwhelming, the acidity from the apple was a counterbalance to the crab. None of the ingredients had strong taste, but, each complimented the other with an overall ultra-sophisticated and smooth taste. This course was my favorite of the Greenhouse.
2nd Course - Sea Bream – Courgette/Avocado/Black Sesame
Marinated diced sea bream was served with slightly poached julienned zucchini along with zucchini sauce. Roasted sesame paste (on the upper left corner of the photo) really incorporated a hint of Oriental flavor and provide a very pleasant taste.
3rd Course – Girolle, Cobnut/Amontillado/Spinach
Chef used many seasonal produces as the ingredients. Cobnut is a cultivated variety of hazelnut, when young they are sweet and coconutty. But, they are equally delicious when older. Cobnut are seasonal and are sold fresh, traditionally grown in Kent, England. They can usually only be bought from mid-August to October. Sautéed spinach served with girolle mushroom and cobnut with almond sauce was a decent vegetable dish.
4th Course – Black Tiger Prawn, Basmati Rice/Seaweed/Lemon Balm
Black Tiger Prawn, lobster roe (in orange color), topped with seaweed were served in shell fish juice. While lobster roe and seaweed enhanced the seafood taste, lemon balm gave the counter-balance and fresh acidity taste. Basmati rice at the bottom helped to captivate the delicious shell fish juice.
5th Course – Venison, Pear/Girolle/Rosemary
Autumn is the season for game. Pinky venison was served with roasted pear, girolle mushroom and rosemary purée. Rosemary was usually used for lamb. It was also a perfect accompany for venison. Venison was served with sauce made from red wine and meat juice.
6th Course – Pre-dessert, Rocket, Mint
This was a course for palette cleanser. Mint ice cream was served on an ice block (rock). Mint had a mild flavor and refreshing.
7th Course – Equatorial Chocolate, Tarragon/Lime
Chocolate creameux cake, with chocolate cream layer and vanilla parfait layer, was sumptuous. Tarragon and lime flavored ice cream was delicately flavored to counter-balance chocolate’s sweetness.
Petit Fours – 3 Plates of Petit Fours
1).Green apple pate de fruit, and mint marshmellow.
2).Liquid Financier (lemon yuzu and creameux in center) sitting on top of crispy rice.
3).3 house-made chocolate with 3 flavor – peanut butter and puffed rice, coconut passion and yuzu coffeeThe main course of dessert was excellent. I probably was spoiled by the dessert galore at Sketch, still felt like to have a bit more.