Well that’s twice now I’ve eaten so much food at Bread St Kitchen that I was close to vomiting through sheer gluttony. I didn’t love Bread St Kitchen the first time round, but for Christmas, Duncan’s parents got him a £150 gift voucher to use at any of his restaurants. This was a particularly thoughtful gift as it meant I got a share of it. For Christmas, my parents got me a Christmas card that said words to the effect ‘Merry Christmas, we can’t wait till you come back to Australia’. Great. Thanks parents. So in summary, I got nothing, Duncan had something.
Once we left the house, it had started to snow. It took forever to walk to Old Street. This was purely my fault; not the snows. I love snow. I pretty much had to be dragged to the station because I kept stopping to marvel at the snow.
Once we arrived, we were lead to a table right near the entrance, directly in front of the kitchen. Not a great table, and to be honest, we probably could have requested to be moved, but I’m still pretty timid when it comes to dining out. I hate to make a fuss. We presented the voucher, only to be told we had to spend it all that night; no carry over. A bit disappointing, but I guess if we have to eat and drink to that value, I guess I can 🙂
There was nothing wrong with Bread ST Kitchen the first time, but I just walked away feeling like the meal hadn’t been worth the money. The fact that the main did not come with any sides also did not sit right with me. I understand ordering extra sides at a restaurant such as a steakhouse where the mains are the same and you can choose the sides you prefer but I feel that at Bread St and especially from a chef as accomplished as Gordon Ramsay, that to not offer individual sides seems almost lazy – having one chef dedicated to the sides while the others only have to focus on the protein. I dunno. My £0.02, really. As such, I wasn’t going to blog this meal. The voucher was a gift to be enjoyed and I was going to stuff my face and have a good night. But when the desserts turned up, I got really excited, so here we are. Sans savoury photos, but with dessert photos.
Bread was brought over; one white role, one brown. The brown was my favourite. There were a discernible hint of honey/malt sweetness in the bread that I loved. I mistakenly agreed to a second serving. When a third serving was brought over we had the sensibility not to touch it.
There is almost an upspoken rule between Duncan and myself that he will order the scallops to start while I stick any pates, terrine or parfaits that appear on the menu. I shook up the system by ordering the scallops too – scandal! The scallops were beautifully cooked, nicely charred on the outside, still smooth and glassy on the inside, but the first time round, we both distinctly remember there being 3 scallops on the plate as opposed to the 2 that appeared before us. No change in price either. Bit mean – that worked out to an exorbitant £6 a scallop. Hmmm.
For main, Duncan went with the Angus steak fillet, cooked medium on their Josper grill. No complaints on the steak, it was cooked well, topped with fat little nuggets of bone marrow. I had the duck. Slow cooked; I poked it with my fork – no need for a knife. I enjoyed this much more than the poussin I ordered on my first visit. The duck came with a sweet dark sauce and there was a lovely star anise flavour through the dish. The waiter recommendation that the duck came with no real proper sides was a little misleading as it came with a nice sauteed chunk of cabbage and red cabbage on the side. It was probably more than enough for my stomach to handle, but we had already ordered chips, sweetened honey carrots (love!) and green beans with Parmesan. I couldn’t finish the duck. Or the sides. It was just too much food. Maybe the size of the mains needs to be taken down just a tad and include the sides in the price? Once again, just my own £0.02.
Seeing as we had to eat our way to a minimum value, we needed desserts each. Duncan beat me to my first option of Whiskey cream, so I had the Chocolate tart. I knew this was a mistake even after I ordered. At the state of fullness my stomach was in, I knew I should have ordered the pineapple carpaccio with 2 scoops of sorbet. When it comes to desserts, all reasoning and sensible thought goes out the window. The chocolate tart was beautiful. I really can’t think of any other appropriate word to describe it. The filling was a dark chocolate ganache; perfectly smooth, glossy and rich. The pastry was impossibly thin and snapped cleanly under my spoon. Despite my opinions of the restaurant in general, I can definitively confirm Gordon Ramsay can make a chocolate tart. The salted caramel ice cream wasn’t as rich as I wish, but I’m starting to realise it is due to my expectations – I’m used to salted caramel sauce that is insanely rich and the ice cream is never going to be like that. The tart was so rich, I found myself wishing for maybe some sort of raspberry sauce or lemon curd to cut through it. In hindsight an espresso would have helped.
The whiskey cream was also very rich with only a sweet brandy snap-type crisp sticking out of it for any sort of contrast. A layer of crumbly biscuity things across the bottom would have been nice, but I guess that would have taken into some other realm of dessert.
This visit did redeem Bread St Kitchen in my mind. There were still a few niggles I felt with the menu and a few dishes, but I left feeling more positive about it as a restaurant. Of course that could be because I didn’t pay for it. Meh! We did eventually get to the target voucher amount through 3 courses each, 2 glasses of wine and 4 cocktails, only going over by £12. Not bad, not bad. We then proceeded to head home where I did my best to ease my visibly swollen stomach while simultaneously throwing snowballs at random drunks on Old Street.