Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fischer's at Baslow Hall

This was the sort of meal that you don't forget. I ate the so-called Prestige Menu (the tasting menu) unsure of whether I was doing the right thing. Sometimes such menus are invested with every care in the world (Le Manoir, Guy Savoy etc.), sometimes they can be a sloppy and haphazard disappointment (Le Château de Montreuil). Happily, this one was from the former camp. I ate, after the excellent amuse-bouche (which contained a killer spicy guacamole among other delights), the following:

Fricassée of Foie Gras with cinnamon tea jelly

Pan Fried Hand Dived Scallop with fennel purée and crispy Saucisse de Marin (I think it was very fine bacon, actually)

Roasted Monkfish Cheek with cornish crab, pickled raspberry

Cannon of Spring Derbyshire Lamb and Yorkshire Fine Fettle, crushed new season Jersey Royals, aubergine purée

Blood Orange Soufflé with blood orange sorbet

Lemon Chiboust with bay leaf ice cream and pain d'épice

Coffee, Chocolates and Petit Fours.

It was an extraordinary experience. The description of the dishes above (taken pretty much from the menu) fails to do justice to the poise, complexity and equilibrium of ingredients and the accuracy of the end result. Everything seemed to be combined for a purpose by a master hand. I have eaten impressive dishes elsewhere where the cleverness of the concept has not always resulted in a satisfying experience (the millefeuille of beetroot and foie gras chez Guy Savoy, for example), but here everything made sense and served to foreground the excellence of the produce. The monk fish cheek was a particularly arresting and complex little marvel as presented by chef Rupert Rowley. I wish that I had taken my camera with me. £68. Cheese available as a £9 supplement. My advice - rush to Derbyshire before something changes at Baslow Hall.

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