When Blai’s mother came to visit us a few weekends ago, she very kindly took us out to dinner at La Trompette one night. While it was a lovely dinner, we thought many of the dishes lacked that extra creative touch as on our first visit; they now seemed to lean more towards the classically French in style. Don’t get me wrong – the food was all excellent (all photos here), and the entire meal itself was lovely, but the main courses in particular just weren’t that exciting. When the bill arrived, there was an extra card on the tray which was a 50% off voucher for a meal at their sister restaurant The Glasshouse in Kew for anytime (except Fridays and Saturdays) in November. Never one to turn down a bargain, I booked a table for last Sunday. Dinner there is priced similarly to La Trompette at £39.50 for three courses or £34.50 for two courses, making comparisons between the two inevitable.
We sat at an intimate table for two in a corner, with a fantastic view of the room. Strangely, one wall had a wavy textured surface, making for dizzying viewing; we averted our eyes. Luckily, the menu was full of interesting options and it took us a while to select our dishes. Blai started with the Quail and ham terrine with salad lyonnaise, crisp quail eggs and celeriac remoulade. I had a little taste of the salad lyonnaise and marvelled at the range of textures in there – croutons, leaves, green beans and bacon. The crisp eggs looked fantastic and even more so when he cut into one and the yolk oozed out. His plate was wiped clean so I think we can safely assume that is was good!
I was in a fishy mood and chose the Grilled mackerel and miso, oyster dressing, shiso leaf and crispy squid, a surprise order from me as I usually avoid fusion dishes in modern European restaurants. However, this was quite pleasant with the grilled mackerel very tasty and sitting on top of an equally delicious remoulade-like salad. The crispy squid was not as I expected but was more like an extravagant spring roll like concoction with a squid filling – I liked it! The sauce, however, was too plentiful for something so strong and salty; I assumed this was the oyster dressing? It was difficult keeping it off the other more delicate parts of the dish. Less sauce please!
Blai followed with the Roast gurnard with creamed fennel, saffron potatoes and swiss chard and roasting juices. The fillet of gurnard came with an appetisingly crisp skin and sat on a delicious preparation of creamed fennel. I liked how nothing went to waste with the chard: the stems were cooked separately from the leaf and stacked quite pleasingly on top of the fish. Blai stated that the potatoes were some of the finest he’d had recently.
Again I chose fish with the Steamed plaice with mussel chowder, beurre noisette, spaetzle, chervil and samphire. And again I surprised myself – steamed fish?! This isn’t normal for me! This delicately prepared fish though was paired with a rich and creamy chowder with mussels and spaetzle noodles. I loved the salty samphire cutting through all that creaminess.
I had my eye on the Port roast plums with warm cinnamon beignets and creme fraiche ice cream since the beginning of the meal. The tender plums gave easily to the tines of a fork and the beignets were irresistably light. The creme fraiche ice cream was… not: it was just a quenelle of creme fraiche. What a shame – ice cream would have been lovely here. Still, it was a wonderful dessert.
The most refreshing thing on the menu was the Mango sorbet with citrus fruits, earl grey granita and passion fruit, which was exactly what Blai wanted. Surprisingly, there was a bit of jelly under the sorbet too which added yet another texture to this dessert.
Surprisingly, we both enjoyed this meal more than our recent one at La Trompette; we got the surprises and creativity in our meal that we had expected. If one thing could be improved, it would be the service, which was a little confused and scattered while we were there; still, nothing affected our lovely date night. With the 50% off voucher, dinner became about £50 for the two of us but this was a meal where we would have been happy to pay full price (not for everyday, of course, but for the occasional meal).
If cheese is more your thing than dessert, do check out Chris’ post on the restaurant from his recent visit too.
14 Station Parade
Kew TW9 3PZ