Wednesday 13 June 2012

UK: Pollen Street Social

Kitchen Pollen Street SocialOur dining chums Al and Lizzi had made the advanced booking and provided an appropriate anagram clue for this evening’s venue at ‘Pot Lentil Casserole’. 

We took our seats at the bar in Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social for cocktails which included a couple of Social Rum Punches (Pusser’s Rum, Velvet Falernum, lime, passion fruit, PSS orgeat, grapefruit and Absinthe), theatrically enhanced by the mist from lumps of dry ice that drifted through a minty shrubbery. Our table in the adjacent dining room was probably the best in the house with a view of the kitchen through large glass windows etched with wisdom from Sainte-Beuve:
‘Intellectual men who quickly wolf down whatever nourishment is necessary for their bodies [with a kind of disdain], may be very rational and have a noble intelligence, but they are not men of taste’.
Côte de Boeuf Pollen Street Social After an appetizer of slow cooked egg, chorizo and geometrically perfect patatas bravas, Mrs M and I shared a côte de boeuf with goblets of duck fat chips and strangely unimaginative green salads, accompanied by glasses of red Anjou. Al savoured West Country ox cheeks on a box while a rack of salt marsh lamb delighted Lizzi. As a connoisseur of the triple-cooked potato, the small number of duck fat chips did little to enhance the vast quantity of meat. My disappointment was short-lived.

Ox cheeks Pollen Street Social
We adjourned to the dessert bar where Emily entertained us for almost three-quarters of an hour with her knowledge, explanations and skilful handling of strangely flavoured ice-cream, goat’s milk rice pudding, white chocolate and coconut panna cotta and fruit covered in delicate wafer-thin slices of meringue. Desserts prepared for other tables were shown to the head chef before service, but this was unnecessary in our case as we witnessed every moment of the preparation of our sweet treats. Sadly we were to miss the delights of the basil ice cream which was on the menu tomorrow night.
Ice cream Pollen Street Social
It is a rather spooky coincidence that Jason Atherton is opening a new Pollen in our homeland of Singapore at the end of the month. Emily mentioned that she had just returned from visiting the site which opens in the in the new botanical gardens on 29 June. It would seem rude if we did not visit to make a comparison. 

The bill was payment for not just dinner, but a dining experience. Judging by the lack of empty seats when we departed, there are plenty that would agree.

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