★ Pollen Street Social, London

Back to London for the last 2 days of the trip and final chance to gorge myself. With so many restaurants to choose from, we decided we must visit Pollen Street Social. We are fans of Chef’s Singapore venture – Esquina tapas bar, hence it’s pretty exciting that we could visit Chef Jason Atherton’s first solo restaurant in UK. With Chef’s impressive experience working at several famed eateries under his belt, his restaurant gained a Michelin star in its opening year.

Upon entering the restaurant, my eyes were drawn to the name cards of all the establishments started by the Chef world-wide on the reception counter.

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Started our lunch with amuse-bouches displayed on a 3-tiered rack. My favourites were the Parmesan foam with mushroom tea and the goat cheese churros.

Although they have a £34.50 3-course set lunch, we ended up forgoing that and went for the ala-carte lunch so as to try some of the signature dishes. First was the Orkney sea scallop carpaccio, kohlrabi, pomelo, yuzu jam, black olive & samphire which was citrusy and refreshing.

Pollen Street Social_02Another highly raved about dish was the Pine smoked quail “brunch”, cereals, tea & toast. The smoked quail was first presented in the wooden box before the staff open the drawer and place the meat onto the barley risotto. The tea accompanying the meal is in fact quail stock and the brioche topped with quail terrine completes the “Brunch” set. Although it was an interesting presentation, I found the items slightly too savoury.

Not wanting to overeat, we choose to have 1 more starter – Line caught Devon squid cooked in cauliflower, roasted squid juices, ink rice & sea herbs and only shared 1 main. While we very much wanted to try Côte de bœuf for two, it would be too filling for us. Ended up with Roasted loin of Highland venison, honey spiced beetroots, date & black tea puree, pickled pears.

The squid was actually chopped into small pieces about the size of rice grains, making this dish looked like a risotto. Generally squid tastes mild with a subtle sweetness hence the sauce plays an important role for this dish. The clear sauce tasted as if it was a concentrated essence of the sea, loaded with umami flavours.

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Venison was well cooked, juicy and tender with a pinkish centre. I particularly liked the robust flavours of the honey spiced sauce. Paired our meal with Pollen Street Social Selection, Clos de l’Elu, Anjou, Loire Valley and Pinot Noir, Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard, Martinborough.

After the mains, we moved to the Dessert bar area where we get to see the Chefs in action both in the kitchen and dessert counter. Oddly (despite the relatively small portion of the dishes)we were pretty full and couldn’t try more of the pretty desserts. We chose the Granny Smith apple parfait, blueberry, shiso & eucalyptus which was delicate and exquisitely plated. The portion was also just perfect for us. We were amazed that the 2 gals next to us ordered a total of 3 desserts to share!!! They couldn’t finish them all and were shocked to receive the petit fours later…

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Finished our lunch at around 4pm and we knew that it’ll take us a hell lot of walking to work off our full stomachs before our dinner appointment at 8pm.

Other photos taken:

London sights_01

Once again we arrived at the pub after 9pm and was told that their kitchen has closed for the day…we had to go elsewhere if we wanted food…Meanwhile we passed by the historic Michelin House (former headquarters of Michelin).

Ampersand hotel_01

Our lovely Ampersand hotel in South Kensington comes with a complimentary mini-bar replenished daily =)

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