Michelin starred did you say? Bold French flavours too. It seems like the two go hand in hand and this is what was presented to me last week at Club Gascon.
Club Gascon "specialises in imaginative cuisine from the South West of France". Gascon opened 1998 and the club also has a restaurant two minutes away called Comptoir Gascon and also there is the Cellar Gascon. The Club that we were in has received numerous accolades including one Michelin star (since 2002), so we felt a bit special walking in.
A good place to start is the starters. That makes sense. Actually i will go before that- we had the £35, three course meal deal. This deal by Bookatable was good for me and worked as i have been spending a bit too much on food recently. As with the top establishments the care by the staff is just as important as the food. A good way to show extra care is to give you extra food and this was delivered with the amuse-bouche. This was in the form of a roasted green pepper on top of salsa like roasted red peppers and a black garlic aioli. Good start.
For the whole evening, Laura and I chose one dish each from the menu. This was to make sure we both had everything on our menu and that we could share too. The pics above were of the Marmite and Soldiers and Poached egg with Truffle. These were two very rich and bold dishes. Foie Gras with Marmite- WOW. So this is an award winning dish back in 2012 and it was quite special The two mixed together and drenched over the bread was a winning combo. The foie gras can be quite much at ties but it worked well on this occasion.
The truffle on the crackling egg didn't work as well and was quite over powering. Visually it was a wonder. A poached egg on a nest of wheat was a clever idea. But once you cracked open the egg and mixed with the quinoa below it looked like bird poo at the bottom. The texture too made it seem like you were eating something close to that too. This was an example of bold flavours going a bit too far.
The main courses weren't as bold but still a hint of French cuisine doing whatever it wants. Lamb and mussels on a plate. Cod cheeks with a crab bisque- these are probably a once in a lifetime experience and i'm glad that Gascon made it memorable.
So the lamb was cooked well and came with mussels too. I would never usually put the two together, but a new kind of Surf and Turf and it was tasty. The asparagus sauce and samphire gave extra hints of freshness, making the dish feel herby and well seasoned.
The cod cheeks were seared and very meaty. I felt that they were slightly overcooked as it didn't flake away as easily as i would have hoped. The rest of the dish was extravagant and a delight to see. Aesthetically it was a pleasure, the taste didn't quite match up to the looks, but it was still a worthy meal for the night and three courses.
The deserts capped off a great evening and a special meal. Cherries with aniseed berries with a lavender chiboust (whipped cream) was all delightful. Laura had this dish and she loved it - almost too much and to an extrent where she didn't want to share it with me.
I wasn't too upset as the goats cheese from Southern France (Cabecou) was really tasty. Usually i do find goats cheese a bit too overpowering but this was smooth and creamy and worked really well with the piquillo pesto and red chilli jelly.
The three course meal at £35 per person with a welcome cocktail was well worth it. A really great experience, which was enhanced by the bold chef, Pascal Aussignac at Club Gascon. His mix of ingredients and confidence to try some outlandish combinations helps to give you a culinary adventure. You never really know what will happen next and what will come with it.
EXPECT the UNEXPECTED.