Les Amis

Glen just got back from London for Easter break and we have been wanting to go out for a dinner date. We were fortunate enough to receive complimentary vouchers for dinner at Les Amis. We spent four hours eating and talking about every thing under the sun. It’s been a long time since we last did that and it felt great doing so again.

Pumpkin butter and sea salt to go with bread

The butter kernels and salt made for a pretty picture, but it was the pumpkin butter that piqued our fancy. Pumpkin has always had a buttery texture in it, and it’s a wonder that no one had thought of infusing it into a butter spread earlier! The bread platter, a selection of focaccia and sourdough was pleasantly warm. A sprinkle of salt atop had us slavering for more.

Amuse Bouche

There wasn’t a description to go with the amuse-bouche, but at its simplest it was a slice of fish carpaccio-style served with a pickled tomato, and a really interesting savoury green powder that melted on the tongue. This was a promising start to the meal.

Warm Marine lobster salad pickled Muscat pumpkin and Austrian pumpkin seed oil

When the menu had described our first course was a lobster salad, what we had in mind was slivers of lobster hiding amidst a green sea of vegetables. What we did get was a pleasant surprise for us. The lobster slices were nice, juicy and chunky, lightly cooked and coated in pumpkin seed oil to help it on its way through our happy, agreeable gullets.

Lightly smoked eel “tiede” crispy pork crouton, horseradish and Dijon mustard

Our waiter informed us that this was one of the head chef’s headline dishes that we would be encountering tonight. It was easy enough to see (and taste) why. In Gloria’s words, the combination of smoked eel, salty crouton, horse-radish and mustard was a burst of umami delight in our mouths.

Whole roasted baby monkfish on the bone and Maitake, spinach and saffron emulsionAnother of chef Armin’s signature dishes. The monkfish had been roasted in a potpourri of thyme, garlic and a host of wonderful (and secret) ingredients, making for a really tasty fish dish. The whole fish was presented for inspection as above, and was taken away shortly after for carving.

Char-grilled Wagyu rib eye cooked in hay sweet corn, lettuce and truffled French fries

The wagyu was the bellringer dish for the evening. The fillet haunch had been grilled on a bed of hay, infusing the meat with a very smokey, grassy aroma. As with most smoking techniques, the resulting flavour complements buttery and smooth textures the best, and all that effort did not go to waste on the wagyu at all. The meat retained all the flavours that had been painstakingly worked into it, but in its own right, it had a fulsome flavour and a lovely silken texture that can only come from only the best quality meats that one can eat.

The evening ended on a sweet note, starting with a deconstructed lemon tart, a dessert and cake selection, and two cups of tea to clear the palate and wash it all down. The heart shaped sugar lumps were a sweet touch, we thought.

A fancy lemon tarte thyme icecream

Tea & some dessert

And, that’s us, feeling full and blissful.

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