We were very excited about our return to Michael Caines’ restaurant ABode. We had celebrated two greedy sisters birthdays there before and it was becoming a bit of a tradition.
From the Victorian tiled entrance you head down into the depths of the hotel to the underground restaurant. All moody lighting and hushed tones it is a place to see and be seen. Sadly, due to the lack of flash, some of the images don’t quite do the meal justice, so we hope our descriptive skills will fire your imagination instead.
We were warmly welcomed with complimentary glasses of champagne to enjoy whilst making the difficult decision of whether to go with the 6 or 9 course tasting menu. In the end our greedy guts won out and we decided on the 9.
First up was a pea and mint soup with air dried ham, decorated with violas. This was served with a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Wangolia Station, Eastern Australia.
Next was a salad of Scottish lobster with apples and nasturtiums accompanied by a 2010 Chardonnay from Kendal Jackson, California.
Both dishes were so pretty served with the petals, we definitely need to find somewhere that sells edible flowers before our next dinner party!
Then it was on to a terrine of ham hock and duck liver, with mustard vinaigrette and soused vegetables. This was paired with Albarino 2011, Martin Codax, Rias Baixas.
For the fish course we enjoyed roasted wild sea bass with asparagus, wild mushrooms and morel white wine sauce, complimented by Chateau la Moutete 2011, Provence.
A first for me was a main course of Cumbrian rose veal with veal sweetbreads, celeriac puree and truffle jus. I was expecting the veal to resemble beef, but actually the taste was nothing like it. Far more delicate in texture and flavour it was perfectly accompanied by the richly smooth sweetbread (just don’t google it!). Pinot Noir 2011, De Loach Heritage Reserve from California had enough body to balance this rich dish.
The stinking bishop mousse certainly lived up to its name, but boy was it tasty. Served with pears, walnuts and chicory, the flavours worked well together so that neither was overpowering. The sweet Jurancon Moelleux 2010, Domaine Castera, was like an extra ingredient to the dish and perfectly balanced the tanginess of the cheese.
First of the desserts was a passion fruit jelly with exotic fruits and pineapple granite. Spread thinly on the plate the jelly was packed with flavour and just the refresher needed before moving onto the other desserts.
A rhubarb sorbet with poached rhubarb was interestingly served with paprika meringues and lemon thyme cream. The touch of paprika was a surprising element to the dish and the lemon thyme gave the rhubarb a kick.
Finally, and our favourite, was the delicious dark chocolate and earl grey ganache with milk ice cream and blood oranges. This was served with Banyuls Rimage 2009, Les Clos des Paulillies. If there’s one thing I love more than chocolate it’s tea, and the flavours worked so well together it’s making me hungry just thinking about it!
To finish off the meal we were served coffee with petit fours which were as flavoursome as the rest of the meal.
As we staggered into the taxi, bloated but smiling we vowed to return again next year