Saturday night saw us ditching the training gear, donning our glad rags and heading out to Claude’s Kitchen in Parson’s Green for a dinner date. We decided to hit up Amuse Bouche, a champagne bar, before making the very short trip upstairs to Claude’s Kitchen for dinner.
We started the evening with a couple of glasses of Perriet Jouet and some extremely moreish paprika seasoned roasted almonds and cashews. The bar was pretty full so the staff very kindly offered us a table upstairs despite our reservation not being for another 30 minutes or so. This was a theme throughout the night to be honest, the staff there are brilliant, super friendly and accommodating and genuinely seem as if they’re happy to be there. Once upstairs they were happy to let us sit, drink and chat without rushing us to order. The ambience is lovely, really cosy and informal yet still stylish – I love the lights. There was a real mix of people in there too, some dressed to the nines and others dressed as if they had just popped in on their way home from a days shopping, so you could go either way and still feel comfortable.
When we did decide to order we were presented with probably the tastiest loaf of fresh bread, ever! Along with some kind of whipped butter on the side. The bread was so good, you guys, I could eat some right now actually! We decided to share starters as neither of us could decide, we went for;
Clams // Rhubarb – Black Rice – Samphire – Cucumber
Wood Pigeon // Fennel – Radicchio – Liquorice – Blood Orange
We should have totally trusted our guts and picked the wood pigeon x 2 as it was by far the better of the two dishes. The teeny tiny clams were interesting taste wise, very fresh but all together a little dissatisfying. The wood pigeon was delicious and perfectly prepared. We decided to pair the starters with another glass of bubbles, Perriet Jouet again.
For mains we didn’t want to get caught out with food envy so we both picked the same dish, the venison.
Venison Loin // Squash – Cavolo Nero – Chocolate – Chicory
Delicious and again perfectly cooked, in my opinion. The squash had a sweet, slightly fruity taste to it and I thought the flavours worked really well together, Dan felt it lacked a little something to back up the perfectly cooked meat. My only complaint, which is true for both the starters and mains, is that the portion sizes are super small. Yes, I’m a Northerner that loves her food and has been brought up on rather large portions but I have also eaten at my fair share of fancy schmancy restaurants and still felt that the portions in Claude’s Kitchen should have been a little bigger, especially in relation to the relaxed look and atmosphere. For this course we both ordered a large glass of the Malbec, it was an interesting choice, really packed a punch flavour wise and felt a little overpowering, definitely not my favourite Malbec. It settled a little with time though and I can see why it would be appealing to some, with strong notes of blackberry, strawberry, liquorice and an almost burnt, walnutty caramel at the end. Dan loved it.
Side note. I will never forget the look on the womans face next to me as her main was presented to her. She went for the January King which was essentially half a head of iceberg lettuce. Perhaps it had seen a pan for a few seconds, perhaps not. I felt for her, I really did.
For dessert we ummed and ahhed and after being talked through the menu – the Douglas Fir really is as it sounds… Even finished off with a dusting of actual tree! (I’m not making that up!) We decided on the Chocolate Bombe;
Chocolate Bombe // Buttermilk – Chestnut – Stout – Raspberry
I am a huge dessert lover and this was oh so disappointing, I’m sorry to say. The main part of the dessert was dark chocolatey mouse but in no way was it sweet enough to offset the bitter and slightly overpowering stout element of the dessert.
After being really excited to eat here I have to admit we both felt a little underwhelmed at the end. It’s a real shame as well because the venue and atmosphere are brilliant and The champagne bar downstairs is the perfect start to a date night . I can see what the chef, Claude Compton is trying to do with his interesting and inventive flavour pairings and perhaps to some it is a success but for us it just didn’t quite hit the spot!
You can eat a 3 course meal for two with wine at Claude’s Kitchen for around £130 which isn’t bad at all!
We give it;
Anyone eaten at Claude’s Kitchen and had a totally different experience? Should we give their menu another chance?