Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bibendum Review

For over five years two of my friends and me meet up once every 8-12 weeks for lunch on Fridays. We each take it in turn to pick a restaurant so we get to visit a great array of different style restaurants. One of my friends took us to one of Terence Conran's first restaurant called Bibendum and has become a firm favourite.
Feuillete of asparagus with poached egg
The restaurant is housed at 81 Fulham Road, which use to be the offices of the Michelin Tyre Company, when the moved out Terence took over and in 1985 turned it into a French Style cuisine restaurant. The building is a wonderful display of Art Deco and Art Nouveau with great stain glass windows of the Michelin man, whose actual name is Bibendum hence the restaurant name.
Open Ravioli with Sweat Breads
The reason this restaurant has become a favourite lunch time haunt is because they change the menu almost daily and have always have a set price menu with a tasty array of dishes. They do have an al a carte menu, but I have yet to pick from it because the set menu is always good and this time is didn't disappoint. The reason for this visit is I have some great friends over from Dubai and they have always wanted to go to Bidendum as we have talked about it so much.
Leek and Brown Shrimp Risotto
I started with open ravioli of lamb sweet breads with wild roasted garlic and watercress sauce, which was a perfect way to start the meal. The fresh ravioli was firm and the sweet breads were crispy with a meaty moist texture, the roasted garlic were sweet and the watercress sauce was a prefect accompaniment. Two of my friends had feuillete of asparagus with poached egg, truffle duxelles and hollandaise. The asparagus were fresh and firm and the egg cooked perfectly. The feuillete was fluffy, light and golden which helped soak up the golden runny egg yolk. My other friend ordered the leek and brown ship risotto, which was rich and creamy very tasty if a little on the large side.
calf's liver venetian style

Raj and I ordered daube of pork with chorizo, olives and pimentos. The pork was well cooked and melted in the mouth, the chorizo was succulent with a delicate hint of garlic, my only disappointment the chorizo wasn't piccante (spicy), the olives were strong which complimented the rich sauce. Although towards the end the sauce was so rich it was getting hard to finish. Lyd ordered the Haddock and Chips and the portion was massive. The haddock was firm and succulent, but was served with french fries and not chips. I know we were being a bit pedantic, but chips are not french fries and I know we where in a French restaurant. There was also far too many french fries which couldn't be eaten and went soft and soggy. Jeff ordered the calf's liver venetian style. The liver was chopped into pieces and served with onions and butter. He said it was very tasty and as good as ever. When ever we see liver on the menu we know that Jeff is going to order it, so he's a very good judge on how to cook liver perfectly. We were served a side dish of french beans and small roasted potatoes which were included in the price.
duabe of pork with chorizo, olives and pimentos
To be honest we should have stopped at the main course because we were already full, but Lyd was eager to have a dessert and she loved the sound of blueberry cream pot with white chocolate cookie. Lyd also wanted to try another dessert so convinced me to order the chocolate marquise with hazelnut anglaise. I actually ended up eating the blueberry cream and my Lyd didn't like the texture, but I found it very tasty and smooth. Not sure why it had blackberries on it considering it was blueberry but it didn't detract to much from the dish. The chocolate marquise had a was wonderfully rich and dark with a bitter chocolate flavour, which would have been to rich if it wasn't lighten by the light tasty hazelnut angliase.
haddock and chips
The staff are very formal put very polite, always there when you need them, but not in your face. The restaurant is fairly formal, but it's not stuffy. What I like about Bibendum is that you don't have to dress up but you still get excellent service which is can't be said for some other fine dining restaurants I’ve been to. This visit was very enjoyable, just like my previous visits and hope for that to continue.
chocolate marquise with anglaise
feuillete is puff pasty
truffle duxelles is chopped mushrooms and shallots in sauteed butter
daube is pork shoulder
pimentos is paprika
chocolate marquise is a thick dessert of chocolate, sugar and butter
french fried ARE NOT CHIPS :-)
blueberry cream pot

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