Hart’s Restaurant is somewhere I have always wanted to visit… in about 10 years time. The impression I have always had is that it is sophisticated fine dining that I will love, but not until I am older.
I have no idea why I have this impression, maybe because whenever anyone tells me how much they love it, it is people over 40. I just felt I wasn’t ready to appreciate it in its entirety.
So when I was invited to preview their September limited edition taster menu in celebration of their 20th birthday, I naturally jumped at the chance to become somewhat sophisticated!
Having never been for dinner at Hart’s before, I was impressed with how large the dining room was. It is bright and airy and tables have lots of space between them which is great for an intimate dinner. There is no music in the restaurant, which I didn’t even notice until it was pointed out to me, the idea being that the guests should make their own atmosphere. Although we were the only people dining (the restaurant was quiet because of the cricket) we didn’t notice the lack of music until the end of the evening. After a glass of Prosecco, myself and my date for the evening, the lovely Fiona from RSViP, sat down with Claire to enjoy 6 courses of fantastic food along with wine pairing.
I don’t eat dairy and Fiona is a veggie, so we went slightly off menu for the evening. However that just shows how willing to adapt Hart’s are to dietary requirements.
My dinner went as follows:
Girolle mushroom, Brik Pastry, Butternut Squash. Deliciously earthy dish full of flavour. I reminded me of the comfort of autumn. Everything was perfectly cooked and the brik pastry added a much needed crunch to the dish. It was paired with a sherry called Lustau Manzanilla, Papirusa. Full of citrus with a hint of oaky, smokey flavour it was a real palette cleanser. It did have a slight coffee aftertaste which I didnt enjoy but it paired well with the dish.
Monkfish, Thai broth, pickled vegetables, lemongrass, ginger, coconut, coriander. A stunning dish and one of my to 3 of the 6 dishes. It transported me back to Thailand, lemongrass and coconut dancing on my tastebuds. The monkfish was beautiful and I wouldn’t hesitate to have this as a stand alone main dish. It was paired with a 2017 Manolesakis Estate, Exis, Macedonia. This pairing was much more to my taste with a lovely peach flavour.
Terrine of Mediterranean vegetables, saffron dressing. The presentation of this dish was beautiful, how does Chef get the layers to sit like that? I have no idea. I loved the mix of aubergine, peppers and courgette and there was a hint of horseradish that I wouldn’t usually like but it was a very pleasant dish. It was paired with a 2017 Simon and the Huguenots, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon. It was the most expensive glass of wine I had drank up until that point, and was delicious with tones of apple and pear.
Ham hock ravioli & minestrone. This dish was another of my top 3. The quails egg in the middle of the ravioli was a delight, with still runny centre. This was a surprisingly rich and heavy dish for its size and it left a lasting impression on me. It was paired with a 2013 Reisling that was fully of honey notes with a hint of smoke.
Roast grouse, butternut squash, pickled elderberries. This was my favourite dish of the night. Incredibly rich grouse, perfect for the season, bringing it right up to date with the pickled elderberries and squash. A really stunning dish paired with the most expensive wine I have ever drank, a 2010 Château Rouget Pomerol. This was delicious! Full of wintery flavours like plum and blackberry with a chocolaty aftertaste it was delicious.
Caramelised peach melba. I love peaches and this sweet dish topped off a perfect evening. I had mine with raspberry sorbet rather than ice cream and it was heavenly. It was paired with a 2014 Monbazillac, Domaine L’Ancienne Cure, Jour de Fruits, a very sweet dessert wine. Yummy.
We also had petit fours to finish, two delicious macarons (my favourite) and a crystallized jelly sweet.
The food was beyond fantastic, surpassing my expectations. I don’t know why I thought I needed to be of a certain age to enjoy this! Whether you are 18 or 80 years old you will surely love it. Relaxed surroundings, fantastic food and wine to die for, I will definitely be back. A huge thank you to Anna for the wonderful service throughout the night, along with James the restaurant manager for introducing the wine pairing perfectly. Claire thank you for looking after us too and allowing me the opportunity to see what makes Hart’s Restaurant such a fantastic dinner choice.
The tasting menu is available for dinner on Sunday to Friday throughout September and is priced at £65 per person. Wine pairing will be available for an additional £55 per person.
*My meal was complimentary but as always my thoughts are my own!