Three years ago, Alexis Gaulthier bought Richard Corrigan’s Lindsay House and put his own name above the door. A string of accolades have followed and although they lost their Michelin star in 2012, we’d heard so many good things that we felt our visit was overdue.
We were surprised to find that when you get to Gauthier, you have to ring the doorbell to get in. It’s quite a nice touch and adds to the sense of occasion. I’m sure it sure it keeps most of the riff-raff out too. (hehe!)
Unfortunately, the lady who answered the door came across rather snootily and only acknowledged the Hog. I may as well have been invisible. In fairness though, the rest of the staff we brilliant and more than made up for their colleague’s bad attitude.
We were led upstairs and into a small, plush dining room which holds about ten tables. It felt very intimate but the atmosphere was subdued to the point where we found ourselves feeling the need to whisper.
Having studied the various menus at home, we’d already decided to mix-and-match four plates each from the a-la-carte as opposed to the tasting menus.
The first dish of note was the pre-starter of crispy fried chicken skin with herb puree (seems like “junk” food likes to follow us into the most unlikely of places). “Junk” food inspired or not, it was delicious.
I began with yuzu & miso curd, while the Hog went for the terrine of duck foie gras. The yuzu was a very special dish. It arrived theatrically in a glass cloche full of smoke, which was totally unexpected! I’m pleased to say that it tasted fantastic too. There was plenty of seafood and you could detect the smoke, but it was in no way overpowering.
The foie gras dish was more of a classic combination, with sweetness from the port jelly and crunch from the toasted brioche perfectly complementing the rich terrine.
My second course was roasted Scottish scallops, while the Hog skipped it and went straight to the fish course. The scallops were perfectly cooked and tasted delicious. I would’ve preferred a little more acidity, as everything tasted rather sweet but this could be a matter of personal taste because the Hog really enjoyed his half.
The poorest dish of the evening was the cut of Atlantic halibut. The fish itself was well cooked, but to our surprise there was a herb crust. It actually tasted of nothing and had a sticky, cloying texture that made it impossible to eat. When I tried some, it got stuck around my front teeth, which wasn’t a great look (given that it was green).
I’m pleased to say that the meat dishes were much better. The Hog had cuts of Highland venison, which was cooked perfectly pink and was full of flavour. He did have one problem with the dish though; the celeriac puree. Garlic puree would’ve been a more accurate name for it, and when eaten with the venison it overpowered the meat. I really enjoy garlic and didn’t find it unpleasant, but the celeriac was totally lost.
The Canette Des Dombes comprises of two cuts of duck; a honey glazed breast and a braised leg. The breast was soft, pink and succulent but the leg was cooked to the point where it was verging on dryness. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable plate of food.
We were then treated to a little pre-dessert of comice pear sorbet with pieces of cooked pear. This was a perfect palate cleanser and tasted extremely fresh, without being too sweet.
For dessert, we ordered the Golden Louis VX and strawberry millefeuille with lime sorbet. Both were outstanding and a really great way to end our meal. The Louis VX is Gauthier’s signature dish and the Hog declared it to be “the best thing he’d eaten all evening.” It was decadent, rich and delicious, with the crispy sweetness of praline, sticky dark chocolate coating and soft mousse all working perfectly together.
The millefeuille was a very summery dish, perfectly light and fresh. The macerated strawberries had an almost melt-in-your-mouth quality and offered just the right amount of sweetness.
We enjoyed our evening at Gauthier and some of the dishes were fantastic. However, there were weak points too and I’d be really interested to hear from anybody else who has tried the halibut.
Gauthier is a great option for vegetarians and even offers a meat-free tasting menu. Also, if you’re watching your waistline, they include calorie information on all their menus. We’ve chosen not to share it with you though because it might spoil your enjoyment of the Louis XV!
Four courses including aperitifs and a few glasses of wine (you won’t find a bottle for less than £35) cost just short of £160.
Open Mon-Sat 12-2.30pm & 6.30-10.30pm
Address: 21 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5AF
Telephone: 020 7494 3111