Tuesday, 24 March 2015

ALYN WILLIAMS AT THE WESTBURY

Celebrating my belated birthday with my cousin, Vivienne, I'm glad that I made a good dinner venue choice this time after a very much disappointing dinner the previous weekend.
I first had a taste of Chef Alyn Williams cooking at the Dinner in the Sky event last year in Canary Wharf, which I really enjoyed. Hence, I was confident that I had made the right choice for this special occasion. 
We were staying at The Royal Horseguards Hotel that night, so it wasn't too long a journey in the taxi, despite the slight traffic on the roads...




We were sat at a nice, quiet corner at the far end of the room. I love cocktails as much as I love champagne, so it seemed logical to order a champagne cocktail - I ordered the Imperial Lavender whilst Viv had The Prestige. Both really nice apéritifs.
I also had a glass white wine, which was the recommended Slovakian wine, Château Belá Riesling. 




We were shown both tasting menus and were informed that we could replace/swap any of the dishes from the other menu should we wish to do so. It is nice to know that there are restaurants like these who are flexible and make an effort to accommodate different customer preferences.
We both however stuck to the regular tasting menu as all the dishes appealed to us.


We were served a nice selection of bread and butter to start with. This was followed by some mouthwatering amuse-bouches. 
I particularly really liked the cheese gougères. I had some really good ones just about a week ago at Medlar in Chelsea, but these were much lighter and moist and a delicious mouthful of cheese-y goodness. Another favourite was the foie gras - Viv who normally isn't a fan of foie gras surprisingly enjoyed it as well.






The first dish was the marinated sea bream, served in a cute transparent bowl. The flavours were really fresh, combined with the subtle sweetness of the cubes of fresh apple and jelly and saltiness of the caviar. 
Next was the John Dory that I don't often see in many restaurants. Lovely flaky flesh with quite a firm, meaty texture, which was quite flavoursome.

Marinated sea bream/apple/chervil/mallossol caviar/whey

John Dory/wild garlic/morels/broad beans

Another challenging dish for Viv was the aerated foie gras. As I had previously mentioned, Viv was initially quite dubious about it, as she hasn't had the most pleasant experiences with it in the past. This once again appealed to our tastes, and it was indeed an interesting combination with the nori and pickled vegetables. I have had foie gras in quite a few places, but never aerated, which was much lighter then usual. Definitely one of our favourites of the evening.
The barbequed Holstein tartare was another highlight for me. The meat was marinated just enough so that I could still taste the meat. I must say that having oyster and beef tartare was a first for me, not quite sure if it would work in most cases, but it certainly was different.

Aerated foie gras/nori/pickled vegetables

Barbequed Holstein tartare/Mersea oyster/Calcot onion

There were two options for the next course - Viv went for the Cornish hogget, whilst I chose the other option of roasted pigeon, as I do love game. Both really well-executed dishes, and we both got to try each others dishes, so we didn't miss out on either.

Cornish hogget/celeriac/soured milk/bianchetti truffle

Roasted pigeon/alexanders/sand carrots/star anise

There was the option for the cheese selection for a supplemental £12, but unfortunately we were quite full at that stage and wanted to save space for dessert. However, if you are one who prefers cheese over sweet desserts, I would definitely recommend going for it, as the tray that they brought over really did look very tempting!

The first dessert was a  Meyer lemon sorbet served in its skin and topped with grounded bits of caramel popcorn - refreshing and a great palate cleanser. The next dessert was just as satisfying - simple yet classy.
And to finish, some petit fours which were some petite brioche buns, and salted caramel and Turkish delight chocolate truffles.

Meyer lemon/caramel popcorn/vanilla

Manjari chocolate/candied orange/yoghurt




The whole evening passed by really smoothly, without feeling rushed like the previous weekend. Service was calm and attentive, without being overbearing, and the friendly restaurant manager made an effort to come by our table to check on us during and after our meal.
This was my first time dining at the restaurant, and it certainly won't be my last.

The Cheekster, signing out x

Alyn Williams at The Westbury on Urbanspoon

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