Sorry I have been AWOL for sorry long. Work then Christmas and life in general has kept me occupied, and I have completely ignored the blog. I did go on holiday in October to Goa – I didn’t blog about that as it was a lovely family holiday (the first one in years!). What I will say is that the resort was fabulous – Taj Exotica in South Goa. Amazing rooms, sprawling grounds, excellent food and the service was second to none. Loved loved loved it. So recommend this place – perfect for R&R.
Since then – no holidays (to be honest I didn’t have any holiday left to take at work after Mallorca and Goa 😂). But this post is about food – vegan food is on the rise and in 2017 it just went crazy! So many options! So how better to celebrate my milestone birthday than trying a vegan tasting menu at Gauthier Soho? I had been there before but never to try this menu.
I started off with my current favourite tipple of choice – a Negroni, which arrived with a couple of interesting amuse bouches, carrot mousse in a pastry case, beetroot hummus on a cracker and these light, super airy turmeric crackers. Different, pleasant and a good start to the meal.
We decided not to go for the wine tasting, but instead ordered a mighty fine bottle of Prosecco that keep us going throughout the meal. Onward to the actual menu – 8 courses of vegan goodness – which we read while having the very tasty bread, served with a seriously good grassy olive oil.
1st course, a plate with a little garnish and smaller ones with tomato, sesame, avocado and shallot. We had some table side prep (no pic, I was too distracted) where the waiter basically minced a cooked carrot, which was then placed in the plate. I quite enjoyed this – it was the little touches that added zings and burst of flavour.
2nd Course – essentially an apple and celeriac ‘soup’ with chestnuts. It didn’t look like much and it wasn’t a substantial service, but I loved the classic combination, warm, crunchy, creamy.
Now the 3rd course sounded lovely – truffle, technicolour, rainbow… I didn’t know what to expect, and I was very happy with what I got – beetroot purees, slivers of truffle, semolina balls. This was one of my favourite dishes – a proper taste explosion and a wonderful combination of flavours.
Things then started to get a bit wobbly. 4th Course. Mushrooms, garlic, spelt, maize and a green chlorophyll sauce. On paper? Everything I like. What arrived was a little cake of polenta with some spelt grains on top – lush. The green sauce – packing a punch and also very good. The raw mushrooms were also good, complemented the dish. But that brown ‘thing’ on the plate – vile. We’re not sure what it is, maybe a dehydrated shroom – but it tasted like old boots. Eugh.
And then it went temporarily downhill with the 5th course. So bear in mind, an aperitif and a couple of glasses of prosecco down, bread, nibbles and 4 courses – so we were getting a bit full – but not full enough, come on, we had dessert to look forward to! But this course – kohlrabi, autumn roots, pickled turnip and marmite broth. I am firmly rooted on the hate marmite side of the fence, but shock horror, that wasn’t what I didn’t like – the broth was actually the best part of the dish, full of umami. The roasted veggies were OK, nothing fancy, but that puck of kohlrabi – inedible. it was thick and chunky and dense. The black hole of this dish – nothing redeeming about it, it actually could have been left off the plate!
With desserts on the horizon, things were on the up again. 6th course and first of the three desserts. This one was excellent. Passion fruit and mango and pretty as a picture. It had all the textures and elements of a good dessert and it was an absolutely delight to eat.
I really appreciated the effort with the 7th course – vegan meringue! Made with chickpea water or aquafaba. It was filled with lemongrass ice cream, surrounded with pear, herbs and pine nuts. Although this was my least favourite out of the desserts, I was pretty impressed with the combination of ingredients.
I was expecting the last course to be all fireworks and sparkles – and oooh, I definitely got that and more. I don’t usually like bananas in a dessert as it usually tastes more artificial than natural, but on this plate, everything was balanced perfectly. The chocolate was chocolately and rich, the banana flavour subtle – and it doubled up as my birthday cake. Good on all fronts. Absolutely perfect!
By this point I was truly stuffed, I think I might have had a mint tea that came with the petit fours, but my memory fails me now. All I remember was that the chocolate truffles were quite nice.
Although there were a few blips here and there, I thoroughly enjoyed this tasting menu. I would so recommend it, and what I quite like is that it is a seasonal menu, so depending on when you go, you’ll get to try different dishes. And as it was my birthday, as a parting gift, they gave me a little hand written card wishing me a happy birthday and offering 2 glasses of champagne on the house the next time I visit. I will definitely revisit – and the free glass of bubbly will go down very nicely 🙂