19/01/2009 – Another good think about restaurants is that you can bargain on them as well. To clarify, I was checking over the past success stories of Mister G Ramsay
on the internet when I bump into an article about the Murano in Mayfair. After a quick look at the menu on the website, I’ve come up myself to a conclusion that this one was seriously a rising star and was seriously aiming for it in a near future. So we decided to book a table there with a friend. Obviously Gordon is not the chef here, but just the “advisor” and as such, he left he driving to one of the rare chef women.
In recent years, Angela Hartnett has emerged as one of Britain’s most successful, best-loved and busiest chefs.
From the first minute we understood that our first feeling was right, as barely arrived, we’ve been placed in the very cosy and chic separated little saloon for a glass of champagne. Perfect host and perfect kick-off for a crazy diner. Small nice “mise en bouche” as well.
Then we’ve been showed our table.
Three things come to my mind on that night and I’ve to share them with you here.
First of all, how can you be amazed by just simple things…but just simply because you literally don’t expect to get a wake up on so simple products.
When we arrive, the waiter arrived with simple slices of bread, a kind of look like of some indian “popodum”. But it was honestly better than that, more crunchy, more textured, more like a maze “galette”. And then the same waiter again, came back with a simple (but so special) bottle of Olive Oil, very slim and small. Then you start to think, “noooooooo they can’t do that” like in any other London trendy restaurant. The usual Italian style dressing…..was about to claim the Focacia to go with it. And then your host mention the name of the Olivier elixir …..Manni?! Obviously you don’t know what is it about. Then you try…..and OH MY GOSH….what is that?? this is not olive oil, this is between a liquor of pleasure and pure olive caviar pressed. So difficult to describe, a bit of sweetness, a drop of bitter and a full cloud of softness. After checking on the net, obviously you understand the value of it, 40 GBP for 100 ml !!?? maybe you can even use it as a perfume ladies. By the way, I forgot to mention that some amazing aged smoked ham from Pays Basque was served at same time, but we didn’t even pay attention to it, even if some salt crystals rocks were crunching under our teeth fulfilling our global enjoyment.
Then arrived the starter. First of all, I need to give you a bit of background, the menu was great on paper but we were under a preconception of a use of very simple product (maybe too simple). A Halibut (fr = flétan) prepared with a red wine reduction!! Oh devious is that! shocking shall we say in french. How can you associate red wine and fish. But in this case, “oye oye” here comes the great UK exception of modernism. Let’s try, let’s see and will judge. And then what to say, just “spot on” mister Ramsay. You may know than if you leave some nice wine in a “casserole” cooked for a long time (30 minutes) you’ll get a so sweet wine reduction, very very sweet. Now imagine the sweetness of the wine reduction, simply poured over and amazing quality Halibut, just japanese steamed cooked and some soft and tender, but still firm “girolles” just slightly roasted on the side. I can tell you, this is simple, but you stay literally stuck in your chair. Shocking!! but so pleased, believe me. Even amused in a way of this sweet and sour combination can work accordingly. Well done mister.
The final what just pure magic. This kind of instant you’ll have in your memory for life. Like one of the recollection of your life you’ll tell the story of to anyone who wants to hear it. All the diner was just amazing. Nothing to say. But when you think you arrive to the end of the “armada” of food and courses, you about to think you will give up. And then the waiter come back with an interesting object, and within a careless manner dropped it on the table and with a big smile he explains to you that the chef in the kitchen want to play a game with you and ask you to find all the perfumes on the various three white plates facing you. Three level of pure “painter palette”. All those colors are just made of cherry sized fruit sorbets. Twelve amazing flavors, that you have to guess to battle the chef and prove you can win the game and you deserve to be there, sitting in this restaurant. Then we played, seriously. Laughing out loud in the restaurant, whilst we found and we compare our opinions. We even sometime looked to the waiters amused by our participation (you know how much I can laugh sometime). And then we called the waiter almost ten times to confirm our thoughts. Almost 100% good….but we failed on one….grrr. One very subtile but indeed so true. One that we thought was some exotic papaya, was found to be in fact pure “vineyards peach” from Provence. How weird is that. But I would have a special mention to the Olive oil (again!!) and mint-basil sorbet, I want more now….believe me again. Just literally crazy overall.
After all this slash of seven or eight delightful courses we ended up the last ones in the restaurant (which was full when we arrived). We finally stayed and discussed over a coffee with the staff till they fully closed. We so much enjoyed the place that we didn’t wanted to leave it, and the people. And then we talked about the “guide rouge*” and the fact that they seriously deserved at this point in time a Michelin star. This diner took place let say one month before the release of the 2009 new guide. Few weeks later, it must have been a pleasure for them to learn that the Murano been awarded his first “macaroons**” …..a great accomplishment totally deserved by the chef of course, but all the staff as well. Food is important but a restaurant is a whole enterprise. And I can tell you the Murano can go far….very far. And can grow up to the level of some Senderens or recently Ledbury. A real good moment in great company. Will be back.