I’ve wanted to visit the Kitchin (warning: appalling music on website) for a while especially after my daughter Jane’s rave review. But various circumstances made this impossible until now, when we eventually made it for a belated birthday celebration. As this was a milestone birthday, we decided to push the boat out and had the land and sea tasting menu with the accompanying wine for each course.
When we arrived, we started with champagne, with a beautiful bowl of crudities on the table. Then on to the courses proper. Shellfish dominated the introduction. Mussel soup as an amuse-bouche was perhaps the best fish soup I have tasted. Then, shellfish cocktail – crab, winkles and cockle followed by razor clams (spoots) with diced vegetables. My favourite was the cocktail – the spoots were great but the vegetables were a little too dominant and tended to mask the very delicate flavour of the shellfish.
Moving on, we had one of Kitchin’s signature dishes – pigs head served with a scallop and crispy pigs ear. What a great combination of tastes. I expected a red wine with this but we had a very aromatic white – a Gewurtztraminer from Alsace. The red, a Pinot Noir, surprisingly came with the fish course – John Dory with red pepper piperade. The fish was perfect and is up there with my top three fish experiences (a sea bass in Italy and a sea trout that we caught and ate in Rhum are the others).
By this time we were getting really full (and a little drunk) – and the ‘main’ course was crispy pork belly with a pork fillet – soft and luscious, served with fondant potatoes and accompanied by a spicy Rioja.
Finally, on to the pudding. A sea buckthorn and meringue tart with chocolate sorbet. I’d never heard of sea buckthorn and I usually find chocolatey things to be too rich. The tart was slightly citrusy and the chocolate sorbet was just right – not too sweet at all.
The food was just wonderful – not perhaps as inventive as some places such as 21212 – but classic cooking with superb ingredients. Service was impeccable – the waiters seemed to be mostly French and I expanded my French vocabulary by discovering the French for spoots (couteau).
This was the most expensive meal I have ever had – £120 each for food and wine – and, of course, I did wonder if this was really justifiable. But, just as you pay a lot for the experience of live music and theatre, you pay here for the eating experience, not just the food. And it was a truly memorable experience.
Visited March 2011.
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