It is a cold, very cold night. Wisps of mist on the canal gain an ethereal quality from the reflection of the street lights. With foggy breath we hurriedly make our way over bridges and through the quiet streets of Little Venice towards The Warrington, a gastro pub belonging to the Gordon Ramsey group. No “pea souper” to add to the atmosphere but even so, it could almost have been romantic were we not shivering.
We went for the Winter set menu. A nice basket of various home made breads were presented and consumed quickly. Wonderfully warm with the butter served on a small slate coaster. The waitress offered us more bread but we declined.
However, I chose the Smoked ham hock, truffle potatoes, poached hens egg and mustard vinaigrette, in other words a Frisée aux lardons but in this case, with mixed baby leaves and potatoes.
I love this salad. It is one of my favourites. Simple and light, the smoky sweet and saline mix of pork, the prickly pepperiness of the salad leaves, and the cloying warmth of yolk from the poached egg broken down by that sharp wine vinegar acidity. Mopped up by fluffy bread, naturally.
I would have loved more, but had already eaten enough bread to become the face of Pilbury and was saving myself for the main course. Braised Dedham Vale feather blade with carrot purée, roasted field mushrooms. Chunks of slow cooked dark almost black beef in its jus, served with a shock of orange carrot and an earth coloured mushroom topped by vibrant green spinach.