London is home to a myriad of sophisticated, high quality and accomplished restaurants. It’s a city populated with great chefs who come up with reliably solid menus, showcasing a lot of talent in the kitchen.
But I’ve been known to shun the Michelin-star-with-famous-chef type establishments, instead focussing my efforts (what a burden eating out is!) on exciting new start-ups with inventive menus and scruffily-dressed waiters.
Give me unsanded wooden table tops over thick white linen cloths; chopsticks in place of heavy silver cutlery; I’d sit on the floor rather than have a waitress tuck my chair under the table in one inelegant swoop (my clumsiness, not theirs); and, Christ, I’ll even order off an iPad if it means avoiding a leather bound wine menu larger than my head.
But there’s something about Texture in Marylebone that stands out for me. At first glance, it has all the warning signs of a stuffy restaurant where rich bankers take their clients but by looking a little closer and giving it the benefit of the doubt, you’ll uncover something special.
I mean, first thing’s first, the bread is sublime. And I’m not one to underestimate the power of good bread, and you shouldn’t be either, especially when it comes served with black volcanic salt.
Our waiter was absolutely charming. So professional and happy to accommodate likes and dislikes when we all opted for the (very reasonably priced) tasting menus. A little amuse bouche introduced us to the Scandinavian-influenced food we were about to experience.
For the fish eaters, next came the smoked Scottish salmon with horseradish, pickled vegetables and sorrel. An elegant, fresh and simple dish which made us eagerly anticipate what was to come.
Norwegian king crab with new season garlic, asparagus and olive oil dressing.
This delicious dish was given as a substitute to eel I think – a combination of lobster and new potatoes.
Chargrilled Anjou pigeon, sweet corn, shallot, bacon popcorn and red wine essence. Named one of Time Out’s top 100 dishes in London!
This is the black angus beef (rib eye chargrilled), ox cheek, horseradish, and pied de mouton. Please don’t ask me what that last thing is – I’m hoping it’s not what the literal French translation is…
Icelandic lightly salted cod, bisque, prawns, barley, grapefruit. Really zingy and delicious.
The name of this dish has escaped my name, I’ll update if it comes to me!
Icelandic skyr, vanilla, ice cream, rye bread crumbs and muscatel grapes.
The food is especially designed to be substantial but not leave you feeling stuff and overfed. The chef, Agnar Sverrisson – whose CV is stellar – creates combinations are light and well-balanced in order to avoid exactly that, so you leave the restaurant feeling satisfied and energised. And if that is what Icelandic cooking is all about, well, I will definitely be back.
The birthday boy was happy and so were we all – a delicious evening was had by everyone.
Texture: 34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY
Tel. 020 7224 0028