Claire, Enotria's very own Master Sommelier, reports from a unique restaurant experience...
Last week was the second edition of the London Restaurant Festival. The highlight of the first edition was the comeback of Pierre Koffmann and this year saw a Jason Atherton Pop up @ Binney street. After leaving Maze in may, Jason was much awaited for with his first solo act in London. This restaurant was only opened for 2 nights and all the profits went to Streetsmart, a charity helping the homeless.
Having worked in the industry for over 10 years, I am still very attached to restaurant life and buzz, but I am now enjoying it sitting at a table! So when the opportunity arise to support Jason for this charitable evening, I couldn’t say no. Getting a table there was a bonus.
Finding the place was a little bit tricky as we didn’t know what to expect. I was only told that Jason put his name above the door… well Yes… he tagged it! And this has set the scene for the evening, a kind of underground restaurant combining a building site, my grandma's dining room, and an open kitchen! I was briefly told what the menu was going to be, in order to find the right wine match, but knowing what Jason can produce from a humble tomato, I was patiently waiting to see what it was going to be like!
We started with a perfectly cooked Orkney Langoustine, with Lemon peel puree and Brandy head dressing. Langoustine and lemon… simple but well executed, the bitterness of the puree balanced the sweetness of the langoustine and the dressing served hot from a decanter into a brandy glass, was ideal match with Rias Baixas Albarino 2009 Bodegas Valminor. Limey, Zesty and mineral, with a touch of roundness on the palate.
The Albarino was also paired with Colchester dressed crab, brown meat vinaigrette, pickled radish, sea herbs and sea lettuce. The iodine in the crab and the pickles went really well with the tangy acidity and minerality of the wine. The main consisted of 35 day aged Speyside beef fillet, braised cheek, organic carrot, garlic snail and creamed Linconshire potatoes. When I eat beef, I like the meat to melt in the mouth, it goes better with earthy wine! And this was great with the Chianti Classico Fonterutoli 2008.
What I liked about this pairing was the wine respecting the dish and every single flavours was going great together.the wine was full of youth, great tannins with a touch of earthiness. Jason is quite well known for bringing beetroots back on restaurant table so when I saw it as a dessert, we had to give it a go! Served in Carpaccio style with apples, pears, blackberry and a herb granita. Matching it with a muscat de saint Jean de Minervois Domaine Barroubio 2009 was a bit of a challenge at first but the flavours dominating in the dessert was more fruity and fresh rather than earthy and it went really well to finish such meal.
After dinner we had a good talk with Jason about the organisation of opening a pop up restaurant, which he did for fun! His own new adventure with the opening of his restaurant early 2011. He told us in secret all the innovating ideas he has for his own place around food, wine and socializing. I know you all love a gossip, so I’ll share one with you… It’s going to be amazing! One our way out we saw the kitchen pilling up the plates into boxes, so this was really it.. A big thank you to Jason and all the team for great support over the years. See you very soon.
Claire Thevenot MS