Tuesday, 9 October 2007


After all that cooking, it was definitely time for a couple of days off. It's always a pleasure to have the in-laws over - they come laden with gastronomic delights: foie gras, champagne, Swiss chocolate and this time, an interesting bottle of fig balsamic which I can't wait to try. It's great that they appreciate the good things in life! Every time they come to London we try to take them somewhere unusual and this time we chose Bacchus in Hoxton.

We're so spoilt for restaurants in London that it's rare that we go back to the same place twice, even if the meal has been great. Bacchus is the exception. The menu changes every month and the experience is so different each time that we have now been back on three occasions. I don't think there's another restaurant in London that is as inventive and on many dishes it really does challenge The Fat Duck and L'Enclume in Cartmel for inspired flavour and texture combinations. All three of these restaurants, and WD-50 in New York have proved to be hugely entertaining dining experiences, provoking interesting debate around the table.

On Saturday we had the 6 course taster menu with wine pairing, and at the end of the meal I think a few of us wished we'd gone for the 9 course. For me the stand out dish was Calamar a La Plancha with squid ink porridge, slow roasted coconut, lime leaf oil and powder and a foam of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, but all the other dishes sparkled with originality as well.

I have to say i can't imagine ever being able to produce food like that.

On the two previous occasions we had been to Bacchus the restaurant had been nearly empty but I'm happy to say on Saturday night they were fully booked. Despite its somewhat isolated and famously gritty location, it does appear that word is spreading and diners are making the journey over to Hackney. I don't think it will be long until it picks up its first Michelin star. In my eyes it certainly deserves it.

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