Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Considering the limited exposure I had to Michelin starred restaurants, I am not in a position to offer any kind of approval or disapproval about my lunch episode at the restaurant Claude Bosi, but I will write my impressions overall. I also know and I admit that this restaurant made me a better gourmet connoisseur on every aspect: food, wine, customer service and the overall Michelin experience.
For this reason, I am going to write mainly about my impressions and less about the background and history of the Chef and the restaurant itself. There is a lot of information anyway on the internet and the well known food critics, bloggers and journalists have written many narratives.
One evening I have started to navigate the Michelin starred restaurants in London (only those near me), its menu and price and especially if they offer a "Tasting Menu" during lunch time. I was studying the price differences between 1 star and a 2 star restaurant (CORRECTION after posting on 21.2.2019: 2 stars); Bibendum came across; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch, three courses for £25. I then immediately called and made a reservation for the Oyster Bar.
Upon my arrival, while talking to a waiter, he advised me that the Oyster Bar has no Michelin stars; only the restaurant Claude Bossi has the 2 stars. The manager then brought me both menus, from the bar and from the restaurant. I was advised that there was a table available for me. I had to then look carefully again, at the menu and at the price. A great difference. From 3 courses for £25 to 6 courses for £120, and the most important detail: " if I will I have enough time to enjoy a 6 course menu ". I will confirm this at the end of this article.
Chef Claude Bosi was attending his event "Mountain Gourmet - Ski experience" with chef Tom Kerridge. Head Chef Francesco DiBenedetto was on duty. I went upstairs to the restaurant during their "mise en place" and was able to take some photos of the windows, decoration and the table settings. The staff made me feel welcome and so I have decided to dine at the restaurant.
Have you experienced a stay in a Leading Hotel of the World, five star hotel, where there is a Doorman who opens the door for you, the Bellman who takes your luggage and the staff greets you with a sophisticated smile and so on? This was exactly how that moment felt, as soon as they opened the door. I was the first guest. To put it simply, there are at least 2 to 3 staff members per table, so the customer service is just impeccable. I don't have to ask and wait. The speed of my Tasting Menu was outstanding. I don't have other words for this matter.
The presentation of the uniform, the cleanliness and the presence of the staff was perfect. From hair to shoes, from nails to the tone and volume of voice. To perfection.
Now, I would like to start with my Tasting Menu.
I had to choose a glass of wine. The Sommelier advised me to go for a glass of white wine from South Africa.
A white wine with an intense yellowish color, nice bouquet, well balanced; citric fruits with some nutty notes and some flowers in it. It is not a simple or easy wine to drink, it is a very complex wine, strong enough to have a taste during my entire Tasting Menu. £20 the glass.
-Under the miniature olive tree, there is an olive shaped canapé "Bibendum black olive, apple and horseradish". A marvelous start, refreshing and warms up your palate.
-In the center of the table: Noon; Pani puri filled with smoked eel with beetroot powder and gel. The next canapé on the right, Foie gras parfait with dry raspberry on top. Finally, the white round one; Cavennes onion tart, Idiazabl shavings, all three on a bed of sunflower seeds.
-Drinks: Cocktail: Zenzero (ginger from Daily Dose), apple and lemon juice with thyme. A very strong cocktail. Non alcoholic. To the right; sparkling water.
-In front of the table, the "chariot à viande", is the "Lunch carvery", it changes daily.
Smoked Jerusalem artichoke purée, coconut foam with vanilla powder.
It never ceases to amaze me how Chefs can create magic with eggs or eggshells. This amuse-gueule was so delicate and prepared with care. It is truly a master creation. The texture of the artichoke purée with the foam was incredibly soft and the combination of the ingredients is a good introduction before a good start for the Tasting Menu.
The Courses start here:
The duck jelly on the bottom with Ossetra caviar. The top with Soubise sauce (onion buttery cream sauce) with delicate fennel leaves. The plate is from Bernadaud fine Limoge porcelain. When the manager brings you the course, it comes covered and I was unable to take a photo.
...with smoked kipper and cucumber. Underneath the crab jelly, there was a layer of white crab meat, perfectly shredded. On top of the jelly, brunoise of cucumber, fennel leaves, samphire sprouting, sea herbs. The depth of this plate is almost as tall as the length of the curved surface of the gourmet spoon (cuillère gourmet).
Sweet potatoes Nosotto à la Milanese, Obsiblue prawns and gremolata.
A vegetarian version of the Italian risotto. The perfect brunoise of the sweet potatoes replace the rice. I don't know how to express this dish. If we talk physics, for me this was the "Big Bang", if we talk music it was Beethoven or Literature, Leo Tolstoy. This is how impressed I was with the Nosotto. If you zoom in, the vegetables are symmetrically designed and cut, the precision was extraordinary perfect, but this is the best part: the veggies were perfectly cooked, not too cooked that it would melt immediately in your mouth or too raw, that it would be difficult to swallow. The blending of every ingredient gave a complete mystery into your palate. I believe I saw some saffron in the nosotto and you could taste just a tiny bit after swallowing one small portion. The gremolata, a sublime taste and texture. The parsley would not overpower the other ingredients. It was a perfect detailed garniture. Because it is all umami taste, complex, yet delicate somehow, I then had my first bite of the sourdough bread with butter, placed on the Michelin porcelain dish.
A classic recipe from southeastern France, Grenoble, this sauce is characterized by the fish being sautéed in butter, garnished with croutons, parsley, lemon and capers on top. Chef Francesco served with Pommes Dauphinoise, underneath the mousse. Al the top garnitures were "croustillants", "crispy", including the lemon zests.
...cooked in hay, bitter leaf salad, Autumn truffle sauce. On the left, Jerusalem artichoke crushed and pureéd with vanilla.
This was simply exquisite. The surface of the sweetbread was impeccably crusty and once you bite, you could taste the creamy texture and taste of the sweetbread. The "jus de cuisson" was very pleasant and the roasted bitter leaf gave a nice blending to the sweetbread. I very much appreciate this course.
with endive and apple terrine (left) and on (top) orange purée. Top left of the fork is a potato sufflée. The skin of the duck was impeccably crusty. The knife cut the meat perfectly. The jus de cuisson was beautiful in taste and texture.
A very refreshing meringue with a banana sorbet with cep cream. I very much enjoyed these two combinations. Any type of champignons goes so well with sweet. This is a perfect closure for my palate, cold and refreshing with the perfect amount of sweetness.
By the time I finished the last piece of my Vacherin, I had to leave the restaurant. I was already running late to pick up my children and indeed, I arrived a little late. Six courses for two hours is not not enough time. I have started at 12:20 pm and I left the restaurant at 14:35. I also eat very slow, especially with tasting menus, extremely slow, but the rhythm of my tastings went flawless.
Below are some photos of the restaurant, the Maison Rémy Martin and the Oyster Bar.
La Maison Rémy Martin offers a cognac/liqueur pairing, for those who need an apéritif or a good cigar after dinner, this is the place to go.
I would like to send my gratitude through my blog to the Chef for the wonderful Tasting Menu he has served and the choices of the courses. I appreciate the extra course and the Osettra caviar. Many thanks to the entire staff for the impeccable service.
Head Chef on duty: Francesco DiBenedetto.
Chef Bosi, I hope to meet you in the near future. You have a wonderful team. Impressive at every level. Thank you.
Susana @ Food with Susi