Now for the avid readers of my blogs (love you mum), you will know that I placed Roganic at the top of my list for my ‘Top 5 exciting restaurants in London’. So when my sister told me that she was taking me there for my birthday, I could’ve hugged her (I didn’t).
The amouse bouche’s were brought to us before the menu – very clever. They were so good that my dad suggested we go for the 6 course tasting menu, instead of the 3 that we were going to get – result! A chickpea crisp bread with cream cheese and cucumber was very pleasant, but the pork and eel croquette was superb. Up there with one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. Smoky, salty – superb!
Pea with sugar snaps and beef tongue was our first course. I expected a tongue shaped meat with a few peas and sugar snaps – so a pea mousse with shavings of tongue (sounds appetising I know!) came as a surprise. What is was though, was a delicious, light, fresh dish. How they managed to create a pea mousse with such depth of flavour is beyond me.
Purple sprouting broccoli with a buttermilk cream and barley was next. The barbecued broccoli was beyond any greenery I’ve had before and the texture contrast with it and the cream and the barley resulted in simple, harmonious pleasure. I think this dish sums up the food at Roganic rather well. Before the meal, I perused the menu and thought ‘How on Earth can this be nice!?’ But the inventiveness (must be a word) and execution to turn such humble ingredients into something so tasty is really what Roganic is all about.
Scallop puree with carrot puree was third. This was probably my least favourite dish so far; not because I didn’t like it – I most certainly did, but more because it was perhaps less inventive and unique to the previous dishes. The scallops were incredibly sweet, as was the carrot puree; in fact it was just a touch too sweet for me, perhaps a tart element would have worked here (but who am I to say, I lasted 2 months at catering college!).
Monkfish encased in bacon with mussels was next was up next. The bacon powder acted as the seasoning, adding a great level of salt to the dish. The use of monkfish (quite a meaty fish), with the mussels, meant that it was not overwhelmingly fishy and was a clever combination.
Chicken with ‘wispy’ leeks was the final savoury dish. A strong aniseed scent arose from the dish and was equally strong in taste. The chicken was ‘sous vide’ (water bath to you and me) and was perfectly soft and tender throughout. I felt the leeks were a touch too thin, so didn’t add the crunch expected.
We were given a ‘free’ dessert of macerated strawberries, strawberry meringue and rowan ice cream (I believe rowan is a berry, not a dessert from a local cafe of the same name, near where I’m from). This was nice enough, although the ice cream was not as smooth and creamy as it should have been (maybe it was from Rowans after all – no that’s a bit harsh). The meringue was beautifully flavoured with strawberry and the strawberries were of good quality.
The actual dessert was entitled ‘sweet cheese pear, pine and malt’ – I would like to suggest a new name of ‘sweet cheesus’! Again, while being very pleasant and refreshing, this dish didn’t blow me away. The pears were beautifully tender and the malt crisp was not only there for texture, but had a pleasant, unusual flavour of its own.
The desserts while not bad, were the most disappointing section of the meal – this may be due to the fact that I had recently been spoiled by the tremendous desserts at the Ledbury.
Unfortunately, Roganic is only a pop up restaurant and is set to shut on the 20th June. It was up there with the best of dining experiences I’ve ever had. The service was beyond friendly (not in that way!) and always attentive; the food was inventive, creative and above all tasty.
Value for money: 8
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I have a nice recipe to share in the next couple of days, so keep an eye out.
I will also be reviewing HKK for the end of June, so that’s something for you all to look forward to!