The menu was peppered with words I didn't recognise, such as hyssop; a type of herb with a slight minty flavour. Visually a delight, the flavours of the beetroot, broadbean and curd were simple and refreshing.Scarlet ball turnip was baked in ash and served with a smoked egg yolk. Sunshine-yellow, the smokiness of the yolk could be smelled as soon as the plate arrived. The velvet texture of the yolk married well with strands of crunchy samphire and soft turnip. Our lovely and knowledgeable waiter was only too happy to explain the technicalities of the dish.
Seawater cured Kentish mackerel had a crisp skin, as it should do. Broccoli was dehydrated and pureed; Regent's Park elderflower honey drizzled about the plate seemed strange, but in fact brought it all together nicely.
Shredded ox tongue was served sandwiched between two sourdough crisps, and reminded me rather of a Viajante dish. When eaten with the blobs of cauliflower puree, the combination of lightly pickled vegetables and the ox tongue reminded me of Heinz's sandwich spread. I love that stuff.
Flaked crab was served atop cubes of compressed cucumber and raw cubes of squid. The dark bits are squid ink croutons, allowing some crunch within the slightly slimy soft bites. Mallow cream, another new one on me, sauced the dish nicely. It became evident that Roganic's people are quite the foragers.
Heritage potatoes with onion ash, lovage and wood sorrel was a hefty number. While the potatoes and onion ash were delicious, the heavy tread of the lovage came stomping through it, spreading it's medicinal, acid flavour over everything and lingering on far more than it was welcome.
Roasted brill with chicken salt and clams was the first course to make me go "oooooh!" delightedly. The fish was served with a cracked wheat crust which had been soaked in rich chicken stock and then roasted and the plate delivered an aroma like that of your kitchen on a Sunday when roasting a chicken. Intensely savoury, the fish flaked apart beautifully. Dabs of mushroom puree were insanely rich, but well matched with the fish itself.
Cumbrian hogget with sweetbreads, artichoke and chenopodiums (I know - eh?) was another masterpiece. The nugget of hogget was pink within and the sweet, fluffy sweetbreads were pillow-soft and mellow. Chenopodiums are in fact the leaf on the plate; they taste much like spinach.
With most of the menu done, we were offered cheese; naturally this led to a hot debate on cheese before or after pudding. I won, and we selected a few English cheeses and a stinky Irish from the cheeseboard. Served with excellent crackers and a tart gooseberry and celery relish, these hit the spot nicely.
Our first dessert was strawberry glass with sweet cicely, buttermilk and verbena. This was one of my favourite courses of the meal. The sweet ciceley is the green liquid; slightly aniseed in flavour, it went brilliantly with the macerated strawberries and the strawberry glass. The buttermilk was like a sort of pannacotta, lending creaminess to the plate. Upon enquiring, we were brought a stalk of sweet cicely to satisfy the curiosity.
The highs of the last dish made the crashing low of the next only too evident. Spiced warm brioche with smoked clotted cream, salted almonds an buckthorn curd is apparently a Marmite dish; you either love it or hate it. I hated it. It tasted disturbingly of bacon and though I love the pig, I did not love it in dessert form.
How appropriate, then, that the final offering should boggle my mind so. A Douglas Fir milkshake with flapjack has the rare quality of being able to make me giggle delightedly; it tasted like Christmas! Woody pine flavoured the sweet milk and if I was wanky enough to have closed my eyes while supping on it I'd have imagined myself in a forest.
Teeny tiny fairy cakes topped with a raspberry accompanied coffee, and off we toddled back out into the rain. I felt thoroughly well looked after - at no point did any of the waiting staff or manager seem harried, but they were personable and answered our many questions patiently. I didn't enjoy every course I had, but they were all an education. Though 10 courses seemed a lot, we found portion sizing perfect, and it never became overwhelming. That said, I still fell asleep on the tube.
19 Blandford Street
London W1U 3DH
Tel: 0207 4860380