corrgian’s mayfair, w1
since we got back from new york i haven’t been eating out much as i’ve wanted to be in my kitchen trying new stuff. when i have made it out i’ve mostly been revisiting old favourites (terroirs and moro) and been disappointed by new place (ramsay at claridges and the fellow).
however, a couple of friends have had greater success than i and very kindly written up their thoughts. first up is my friend judy who recently ate at corrigan’s mayfair. here is what she thought.
having eaten at lindsay house on several occasions and, indeed, recommended it to friends as the ‘special’ place for a meal, i was thrilled to bits that my friend jojo and i were able to get a table at the new corrigan’s mayfair for our joint birthday treat. as well as lindsay house, both of us had enjoyed the long lamented (and now closed)english garden together, and the unequalled thierry’s style of bringing the human face to somewhat formal fine dining.
all set for a wonderful time we made our way to the park lane end of the rather dreary upper grosvenor street where corrigan’s mayfair is set, left a sun drenched evening and entered the very dark, potentially chic, temple of food. we were greeted by a friendly young woman and were taken to a table that was nicely situated in the very comfortable banquette seating towards the back of the restaurant: a cross between pseudo modern and 70s décor; a curious atmosphere of orange and brown (although i don’t think either orange or brown play a great part in the décor). the sense of richard corrigan’s hearty, traditional yet light and warm personality did not extend to our surroundings.
the menu was, unsurprisingly, wide ranging and we expectantly asked to see the ‘tasting menu’. too late we discovered that this was not an option and that we had to choose only one item from each part of the main menu, no mean feat. it then took far too long to see what of the myriad of choices we would try and were very hungry by the time the amuse bouche of deep fried coated olives and cheesy biscuit arrived: delicious.
the food when it arrived was, on the whole, exemplary. jojo had a foie gras parfait (on nearly every menu one reads nowadays) that dutifully tickled the taste buds as did my elegant tempura oysters. jojo’s veal sweetbreads (never tasted before) excelled expectations whilst my ox cheeks with a mushroom ravioli and garlic leaf would have been better served had the cheeks been encased in a less salty pancetta which deflected from the delicacy of the meat that sensuously melted in the mouth once the pancetta was removed.
as expected the cheese board was faultless but i was surprised that the pedro ximenez sherry i have taken to drinking with my cheese was only available by the bottle. port, although good, was not my first choice and created mutterings, albeit subdued, of exasperation.
i knew pudding was going to be the ‘piece de resistance’ of my culinary evening as i am unable to resist a soufflé. i was not disappointed and the delicate flavours of rhubarb and vanilla were a perfect foil for my favourite eggy delectation: fabulous. jojo on the other hand had trouble selecting her pudding and opted for the eton mess which was a real disappointment because the meringue was far too hard baked and jojo, a bit of whizz with meringue dishes, was expecting a masterful touch that would take traditional deliciousness to the realms of the sublime.
we both came away from corrigan’s mayfair entirely replete but with differing views about whether we would either recommend it or return. it is difficult to exactly pinpoint what i believe it lacks. perhaps the overall experience is far too like many other comparable restaurants that london enjoys. perhaps the experience as a whole lacks the joy and exuberance i associate with richard corrigan: it is more shrill than vivacious. i went with an excitedly open mind and left hankering after the corrigan of yore. would i recommend it? this jury is still out and i would think at least three times before pressing friends to go there. jojo on the other hand, despite her disappointment with the eton mess is greatly looking forward to returning with her partner and enjoying the delights of rib of beef.
28 upper grosvenor street, london w1k 7eh
t - 0207 499 9943