2018 has started at a pace (and a diet) but January wouldn’t be the same without Elldrew’s annual festive restaurant feasting round-up. If you want to compare this year’s indulgence with prior years then you just need to click here.
An annual tradition now, we kick started our festive eating with the Hawksmoor’s Christmas burger. We’re becoming rather familiar with these and, having learnt our lesson from previous years, we’d had only a light lunch but still left completely stuffed! The addition of a pork patty to the 2017 burger was a nice addition to the previous recipe. That said we weren’t overly-impressed with the festive turkey nuggets – although an improvement on last year’s brisket nuggets – and we wish they would bring back the original nuggets from 2014. Still a nice way to start the season and we’ll be back again in 2018.
Just 48 hours after Hawksmoor we took a break from festive fayre to celebrate a dear friend’s ‘special’ birthday at Gymkhana Indian restaurant. The stuff of legend, known for its Michelin starred curries, we went with a group and ate beyond stomach capacity. The food was exquisite, as one would expect, although the plethora of deer, venison and it’s close four-legged relatives made us avoid any Bambi jokes during the meal. Stand-out dishes included every starter, the tandoori masala lamb chops and the Muntjac biryani, baked under a pastry lid. On reflection we struggled to understand why it had its Michelin star – nothing wrong with the restaurant nor the food but we just didn’t think it was as outstanding as some of our other Michelin experience…but maybe that’s why we’re not Michelin reviewers?
Christmas Day 2017 was spent at the Dean Street Townhouse. Reserved well in advance as we know it gets booked up early, we found ourselves seated in The Parlour, rather than the main restaurant. The plus side of this was its cosy, intimate with a friendly ambience – we were seated in front of an open log fire – the downside was the lounge seating wasn’t entirely comfortable for a big meal. Comfort aside the food was excellent with a traditional turkey roast enjoyed by all. Starters of lobster bisque and smoked salmon were the right size for us to enjoy our main meal, although following a generous dessert we had to force ourselves to eat the (unnecessary) cheese course. We ranked this as one of our top 3 Christmas Day lunches and are wondering how soon is too soon to book again for this year?
After all that food a couple of days break was required before our annual boozy lunch with another close friend. This time we revisited Cecconi‘s where we’d had the same boozy lunch back in 2012. We do love Cecconi’s for its classic Italian food and we weren’t disappointed this visit. The lobster spaghetti was probably the stand out dish although Ell insists his Vitello Tonnato (shown above) is a not to be missed dish, but acknowledges that veal in a tuna fish sauce is not for everyone.
Topping it all off was a New Year’s Eve spent on the roof of The Boundary in Shoreditch with dinner downstairs at Tratra restaurant. The evening was fabulous, a grown-up Shoreditch crowd (so Elldrew didn’t feel too antiquated) and a wonderful, jovial atmosphere on the roof at midnight. Alas we can’t say the same for the food, with 3 out of 4 of us being dissatisfied with a steak that wasn’t cooked well nor seasoned to our taste. We’ll blame it on the small special menu that night as we’ve only heard positive reviews – hence the reason we booked – but at least the maître d treated our concern respectfully, sending over a complimentary bottle of wine.
Somewhere in between all that Elldrew also squeezed in a brunch at Elldrew favourite, The Wolseley, but this author can’t remember exactly when or how we had room to consume any more rich food! Suffice to say it had its usual charm and whilst it perhaps pales in its culinary offering against some of the other establishments, it remains a firm Elldrew favourite.