It took me ages to finally get to go to Gauthier Soho–a new gastronomic venture by Alexis Gauthier of Michelin-starred Roussilon–at Lindsay House where Richard Corrigan’s used to be. This is a rather intimate restaurant, I must say, a period house with two dining rooms split over two levels on a quiet West End street, but with the imposing sign “Gauthier”, I was sure nobody could miss it.
I went for the Gout du Jour menu, which was a seasonal eight-course tasting menu, but I asked to have Le Carre Napoleon replaced by Louis XV, a dessert dedicated to my most favourite chef Alain Ducasse and inspired by Gauthier’s three years at Ducasse’s Louis XV, at the Hotel de Paris, Monaco. The manager had no problem with me changing the course. I felt comfortable, at least there was some really great vibe from the front of house ^_^
(1) Canapes/Amuse Bouche of Carrots with Ricotta Cheese, Cherry Tomato with Smoked Fish Cream, Choux
I loved the choux, though it would be nicer if they were less crunchy and with softer texture. The filling was fantastic. I found, however, the carrots and the cherry tomatoes to be rather forgettable.
There were quite a few variations, served warm. I picked Olive Bread, Brioche with Sultana, and with Tomato and Basil. The pieces, though small, were incredibly delicious–the very best bread I had this year. Sadly, I let my head rule and didn’t dare ask for too many of them. The Olive Bread at Gauthier was very similar to one at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, albeit more appetising!
(3) Foie Gras, Sultana, Apple, Crispy Herb Caramel, Calvados Reduction, Pork Jus
A good dish that showed a lot of skills and understanding of flavours by the chef, which would go down brilliantly with a flowery, fruity glass of white wine. I made a mistake of not ordering the wine, though. Taste-wise, without the wine, it was a little too much on the sweet side and I think a bit of alcohol will perfectly compliment and cleanse the palette. Nonetheless, a very lovely dish.
(4) Langoustines, Cumin Confit of Red Pepper, Parsley Jus, Crustacean Dressing
Another good flavour combination, but in my opinion, with a major flaw. That is, the portion of the red pepper confit on the plate was far too large, almost the same as the langoustines, hence the sweetness and the meatiness from the langoustines’ being massively overwhelmed by the bold, vibrant confit. If it were well balanced, this could be a fantastic dish.
(5) Autumn Truffle Risotto, Veal Jus, Parmesan Reggiano Crisps
A very well-cooked dish. The rice was creamy and al dente, served with unmistakably generous shavings of truffle. The veal jus drizzled on top was a rather thoughtful touch.
(6) Halibut, Watercress, Fondant Chicory, Crispy Ginger, Lemon Jus
First of all, this dish was so aromatic. I could smell ginger and lime zest! The delicate piece of halibut was well accompanied by the citrusy conbinations. Still, I had some problem again with the balance of the ingredients, finding the fish a bit lost among the veggies.
(7) Venison, Poached Pear, Celeriac Puree, Carrot, Truffled Savoy Cabbage
A memorable dish with the reason’s being the perfect medium-cooked venison, the sweet pear and (again) a lot of truffle! I loved the dish and would like to have it again and again. There was some creative touch with the carrot, too. Still, it would be nice to have more contrast of texture in this dish to amuse the palette. The carrot, the pear, the puree and the venison all had this rather mellow-y texture, and I felt I could do with some crunch!
A good selection of four different texture and flavours. I asked for the sultana bread assuming it would go well with the cheese. It would also be nice to have some garnishes to go with the cheese–dry fruit, grapes, celery sticks, nothing too fancy really–to freshen up the palette.
(9) Apple, Chocolate, Yogurt
A decent dish. I particularly love the crunchy chocolate and could do with another serving. The flavours were well-balanced and quite light considering it was a chocolate dish. I also thought the candy floss made the dish look very appealing.
(10) Golden Louis XV, Chocolate Mousse, Crunchy Praline, Gold Leaf
Oh my GOD!!! I could just eat and eat and eat and eat this all week long, or so I thought, until at least I turned diabetic. It was so heavenly, so decadent, so indulgent, so luxurious, with many contrasting textures. I was sure he made Alain Ducasse proud. I just couldn’t rave more, seriously.
(11) Fresh Mint Tea + Petit Fours
A good assortment of petit fours. All tasted lovely.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Gauthier Soho and think it is a contender for a Michelin star. There are some areas they can work on to perfect the food–presentation, balance–but flavour-wise, this will go down so well with London diners. I’m yet to try the wine, but would love to next time. And I think the front of house is brilliant, courteous, welcoming, accommodating–all you can ask for at a restaurant really!!
Enough said ….
My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “8 out of 10″.
21 Romily Street
Tel. 020 7494 3111
NOTE: You must order Le Louis XV!!