Chamberlains in Leadenhall market was to be our first Fish restaurant of this fine dining adventure. Not everyone’s preference, however after having been woo-ed on Twitter the week before we were all keenly anticipating what they had in store for us.
We tend to arrive early to get a feel for these places at their bar….. Cocktails and tasty nibbles are a great way to kick off the night…… Unfortunately with a staff member down Chamberlains couldn’t open their bar. The Thursday night before Good Friday!… Really!? Surely with the potential takings on the Easter weekend with all the revellers filling London you’d have plenty of cover? Disappointed, we left to sample one of the other many nice bars the market had to offer.
Returning bang on our booked time, we were again welcomed warmly and cheekily! Yes the staff all had a mischievous glint in their eyes, definitely in keeping with a more relaxed Mediterranean vibe when compared against other European service or the English stiff upper lip.
Having sat down we were swiftly surprised by a platter of Irish Oysters, compliments of the chef. Of the five of us, two are fish lovers, two are fussy fish eaters whilst one is completely anti fish! So we are a tough crowd for any fish restaurant to completely satisfy. I’m told the Oysters were very good – the plate was all but empty 10 minutes later!
Any regular readers of this blog will know that I can be quite analytical and critical of the small details like the bread and butter. Hard and hard…. Enough said? Moving on.
Next was another complimentary dish; a prawn terrine. Again I was told it was very tasty and again all were eaten….. DC and Shaf weren’t messing around!
The service continued to be friendly and fun, the restaurant itself is a quaint little place overlooking the market, except the downstairs ‘shut’ bit. Clean and modern but with a classic decor twist. Not striking in any way but a little gem that you would say ‘oh I know a place’ when debating where to go for a fishy meal in town.
My first ‘chosen’ dish arrived and didn’t disappoint….. ‘Scallop and Pig’. A huge tasty scallop with a delectable length of Black Pudding. Served with a celeriac and apple coleslaw….. Very good.
The Cauliflower veloute with an almond beignet (mini doughnut?) was apparently equally excellent, as was the Fois Gras. The Lobster Bisque was good but not exceptional.
For another non fish lover a posh ‘egg and chips’ was most welcome…. Served with Jerusalem Artichoke sliced chips and a beautiful sauce the dish was an another apparent winner.
Friendly, fun, great food yes….. Fine dining no. Classic fine dining has a professionalism drummed into the service members….. One or two little mistakes crept in here but were forgotten as the night was very good on face value.
The catch of the day was John Dory. Two of us had it and two of us agreed that it was amazing. Beautifully cooked, gorgeous thick chunks of fish with a sauce to match. The green beans were equally perfect, seasoned well, coming with a crunch that sets the benchmark forever more! Crispy chunky chips with Parmesan and truffle, were the final piece to this damn tasty puzzle. Possibly the best fish dish I have ever tasted.
The other’s Steak fillet, Dover Sole and Lamb fillet were all ‘ok’. I was genuinely disappointed to hear that after my Catch of the Day and feel that I had not so much ‘lucked out’ but just instead chosen well!
One disappointment was the wine list, or lack of. A choice from circa 12 reds or 12 whites, it just didn’t seem enough. We began with a Sancerre, nice, followed by a Pouilly-Fume (Les Jeunes Vignes 2014 by Henri Bourgeois) very nice, and finished with a Shiraz (Pasquiers 2014) pretty good again. I shouldn’t moan as they were reasonably priced and did the job….. I don’t need more of a selection…. Just getting above my station probably.
All the deserts were lovely, especially my apple tart with the most wonderfully tasty cream. DC’s poached pear with Stilton ice cream also hit the mark. Stilton ice cream though???
However the cheese boards…… Well they are perfect if you are still hungry! No little tasting bits here….. Huge hunks of cheese. All British. Once again we shouldn’t complain but you can’t beat a fromagerist speaking passionately and eloquently about a vast array of cheeses and then choosing 3 tiny bits which just finish the meal so satisfyingly.
Maybe they were saving the best for last?….. If they were they should have said before some ordered the previous cheeses, because they then brought out a wonderful French Brie with a truffle infused centre…. Completely stuffed by this point, it was a shame we didn’t finish it….. I refuse to take home a doggy bag but it did cross my mind.
Coffee and whiskeys finished the night….. Oh no the final complimentary honeycomb dish did! Cannot fault the hospitality!
Again very good but continued our debate about how we rate restaurants. Currently rated on an overall leaderboard, every meal we think of including new sub sections; ‘value for money’? ‘genres of food’? Etc. Every one has their merits but also counter arguments. However if we had a ‘fish restaurant’ category then Chamberlains would surely be top.
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