34 Portman Street
Texture is still offering incredible tasting menus full of, well, texture (you’d expect nothing less really, would you?). A year since iLoveMyGrub’s last visit we have returned to try their new “rejuvenation menu”. Including pre-dinner crisps (parmesan, bread, potato & cod skin), bread with oil, butter & tapenade, amuse bouche, two savoury courses, a pre-dessert, dessert and petit fours, this offering is incredible value at £39. And, true to form, each dish we ate offered a delight of creams, crunch and everything-in-between.
Our amuse bouche of “mint tea”, a creamy pea and broad bean mousse delicately flavoured with mint and studded with peas and beans (some frozen) and topped with a layer of peas and a pea granita, epitomized spring flavours, teasing the palate just as an amuse bouche should. Meticulous care is taken in the presentation of all the dishes, described so appropriately as “landscapes” by my dining partner. Our seared salmon starter had an incredible background of cubes of cucumber standing in pools of cucumber juice meeting horseradish yoghurt and cucumber “snow”. Pleasingly the same careful attention was given to the balance of flavour that the chefs had taken over the appearance of the plate.
Ice shavings were a common theme, appearing in four separate dishes – in the form of pea, cucumber, sorrel then strawberry. The sorrel was combined with Icelandic skyr ice-cream that melded into the most interesting and refreshing pre-dessert I have ever tried. What could have been a simple dessert that followed, of macerated strawberries with Greek yoghurt, milk ice-cream and granola was lifted by this strawberry ice and the delicate addition of the cold strawberry & lemon grass soup it floated in.
I was keen to experience the petit fours again and was delighted to see them arrive on the same wooden board as last time, looking remarkably similar, indeed the same style line-up as last time: madeleines, macaroons, marshmallow, truffles, caramel sticks and fisherman’s friend lollipops. It didn’t wow me in quite the same way, maybe because it was familiar now but the madeleines were greasier than I recalled and the caramel sticks just tasted burnt. The passion fruit marshmallow however, was a thing from the heavens.
There are still a few stand out staff at Texture who have fine-tuned the balance of friendliness and professionalism. The rush of each of the first few food offerings upon us was slightly overwhelming, like we were being fast-tracked through the experience, but the food is inventively constructed by someone with a fine palette and a passion for presentation. It makes for a wonderful experience and with this special menu, it’s a complete fine-dining experience that’s light on carbohydrates which pleasantly leaves you without the typical overstuffed, heavy feeling you get from similar restaurants.
Texture: 34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY. Tel: 020 7224 0028.
Reviewer: Jennifer Earle