Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Club Gascon

The hubby and I had a wonderful Monday evening being treated to dinner at Club Gascon. We had a 7:45pm reservation and the restaurant had a perfect ambiance. Around two thirds of the thirty seat restaurant was occupied; mainly by couples. The lights were dimmed, the music was calming and guests chatted quietly creating an ideal romantic and serene atmosphere. On arrival our coats and bags were whisked away leaving our floor space clear. There was no need for luggage tags as the restaurant is small and intimate so much easier to keep an eye on customers needs and in this case possessions.

There were several staff looking after the clientele all of whom were incredibly polite, friendly and very helpful. The waiters cannot do enough to assist you, including explaining every dish and wine accompaniment in exceptional detail and allowing you to ask further questions if needed. They also talked a little about the chef and how he enjoys interspersing British and French influences into his cooking, which was great to be given some background knowledge.

After being seated we started with Parmesan straws that were incredibly strong, just the way Parmesan should be served. This was married with a welcome glass of champagne cocktail (Lallier, white Lillet and a dash of Angostura bitters). Also note in the background the beautiful and impressive flower arrangement, which kept my eyes pleasantly entertained throughout the meal.

Slowly sipping the champagne cocktail gave us a chance to browse the five course tasting menu Le Marche and provide any food allergies to the staff as well as marvel at the intricate crockery.

After giving the go ahead to begin we were gifted with a beautifully presented Amuse Bouche. The wonderful concoction consisted of Piperade, roasted padron pepper, saffron crisp and black garlic aioli. The dish was incredible, all of the ingredients merged exceptionally well and provided a great insight into the meal to come.

At this point and throughout the first three courses we were offered a variety of breads; a white French baguette, sourdough, a delicious salted brioche roll and a poppy seed option. The breads were served with two different and equally tantalizing butters.

The first course was seared abalone (chopped into thin slithers) with a chive & seaweed emulsion and summer griolles. These were presented in two separate shells. They tasted delicious together and apart and again the presentation was phenomenal. The dish was accompanied by a white wine (Corbieres, Domaine de Montfin, Le Blanc - vintage 2014) which consisted of two grapes. Roussanne for white fruit flavors and Grenache blanc, which was buttery and floral.

The seafood dish was closely followed by something quite unique and impressive. This course was a perfect marriage between French and British ingredients as explained earlier. We had duck Foie Gras, cucumber pearls, lemonade and mint jelly. This was served with a very strong but exceptionally delicious cocktail. Orange and lemon peel marinated in Pimms, white Lillet infused with cucumber, strawberry liquor and ginger ale. It was a sensational cocktail and enabled you to see the contrast of Pimms v Foie Gras and white Lillet i.e. France v Britain.

Next up were the main courses. This concoction was probably my favorite of the evening. We had barbecued hake, maize, truffle & bacon sauce. The truffle was strong, just how I like it but I appreciate not everyone is such a big fan. The dish was served with another white wine (St. Chinian, Chateau de Coujan, Bois Joli - vintage 2013) and included three grapes to create a fruity and tropical flavor with a hint of spice. The spice definitely came out in the wine and complemented the hake perfectly.

The fish was followed by another beautifully presented and mouth watering plate. We had French rabbit ballotine, smoky aubergine, bagna cauda and basil oil. This time the food was paired with a red wine (Gaillac, Domaine Peyres Roses, Impeccable - vintage 2014) that consisted of four grapes. Merlot,  Braucol, Duras and Syrah for incredibly spicy flavors. You could really taste the black pepper and smokey flavor, which was pleasantly surprising on the palate.

After the meal we were given a palette cleanser of passion fruit and mint sorbet with cucumber gel inside a cone coated with pistachio crumble. The cleanser was sharp and did the job perfectly.

For dessert we were served glazed black fig, which was sweet and succulent, frosted geranium, crumble and pickled gooseberries. Again, everything worked incredibly well together and looked stunning on the plate. The dessert came with a sweet wine (Monbazillac, Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure, Jour de Fruit - 2012) that consisted of two grapes - Semillon and Muscadelle for freshness and sweetness.

After a fantastic meal it was time to relax and enjoy a little post dinner sweet treat before home time. We were presented with a beautiful plate containing Armagnac truffles, raisins soaked in Sauternes & coated in choco, Rhubarb & praline and spicy almonds & choco tuile. 

We cannot thank Club Gascon enough for the incredible food and the sensational hospitality. We left feeling full from the cuisine and merry from the exceptional wines. The five course tasting menu paired with wine is priced at £100 per head. For a romantic treat with a loved one, this is well worth the cost. You will leave having had an amazing gastronomical experience, you will have challenged your taste buds with a variety of flavors and combinations and you will feel relaxed from the ambiance. I would recommend splashing out on the wine pairings as they really complement the meal. Make sure you book ahead and trust me Club Gascon has well and truly earned it's Michelin Star so go and treat that special someone, I promise you will not regret it.

Please note Club Gascon also offer an A La Carte menu that is detailed on their website.