F and I had our friends S&R to lunch on Saturday. We had Cod in a peanut crust followed by F’s Orange and almond cake with Coole Swan1 mascarpone. I hadn’t made the fish dish for a while: it’s based on a recipe by Paul and Jeanne Rankin from their days at Roscoff in Belfast, now, sadly, no longer in existence. The cake in particular was delicious: it contains no flour, so is gluten free for those who want that, and was marvellously light and moist. After eating we cleared up and went for a walk: my house has just gone on the market, and we had people coming to see it that afternoon. When we returned we had some cheese with a glass of wine to round off the day.
Yesterday saw us to lunch at White Onion in Wimbledon village. We’ve been there a few times now, and the food has been consistently excellent. The wine waiter now recognises us, and, more impressively, remembers the wines that we have drunk on previous occasions. He is very well versed in the art and science of matching wine with food, and we always seek out his opinion on what to have. We had adopted the Pulham Protocol2 when booking the table, and were seated at what was usually a table for four. F had the starter special, which was a wild boar terrine with foie gras, followed by sea bream with a seaweed cannelloni and lobster sauce. I had the smoked haddock and mussel gratin, then the catch of the day, which was hake baked in an almond crust with a cauliflower and lemon cream sauce. Undeterred F finished with a lemon curd dessert, which was, she said, closer to lemon posset than traditional lemon curd, and was served with a blueberry compote and shortbread biscuits. I ended the meal with a quince tarte tatin with amaretto ice cream. We relied again on the judgement of the sommelier to have him choose a dessert wine, as we had done to find a bottle of white to have with the rest of our meal. Excellent all round.
1. A cream, chocolate and whisky liqueur.↩
2. Based on advice from my boss at CIPFA. When booking a table at a restaurant always book for one more than the intended party size. When you arrive announce that your final guest can’t make it and have them take away the extra place.↩