Excellent from first till last!
We chose the Kitchin for a special celebratory meal and we were so glad we did.
On arrival, greeted and shown to a table in the bar - this is a small glazed area at the entrance to the dining room, it is light and airy with a definite up market feel to it. The bar and reception staff were busy but went about their work with a natural smile on their faces. You instantly feel relaxed.
Your choice of drinks arrive accompanied by a selection of crudities and a smooth luxurious dip. The cocktail of the day, which my wife had chosen came in a dainty metal goblet with a mesh lid, a bit daunting until the waiter explained the principle!
Despite the restaurant being busy you do not feel rushed - the menus arrive and you make your choice whilst soaking in the atmosphere.
A great touch here as while we were making our minds up chef patron himself came into the bar area and spent time talking to every waiting guest, chatting generally and offering advice on what was on offer. A true professional and a genuine nice guy.
Choices made we were shown to our table in the restaurant. After the bright sunlit bar the room itself appears quite dark but once seated your eyes adapt and the lighting is subtle and atmospheric. tables are well spaced and there is a viewing area into the kitchen. The staff are many and immaculately turned out, it all adds to the feeling that you really are somewhere special. There is a decidedly buzzy atmosphere to the room.
We both decided on one of the tasting menus; my wife selecting the Chefs Seasonal and I the Chefs Classic, both with the recommended wine selections.
In addition to our seven courses, we selected the optional lobster dish which was offered at a very reasonable supplement.
My second dish of spoots with diced vegetables, chorizo and lemon confit was superb, fresh, zesty and truly delicious - I would recommend this to anyone visiting the Kitchin.
This was followed by another signature dish, Pig's Head & Cod, a really well flavoured bite of pork with cod cheeks and a lovely dressed salad to give a texture contrast.
My wife's tomato & mackerel in tomato consomme was lively and fresh and paired with an English wine, Three Choirs, Coleridge Hill from Gloucestershire which was a perfect accompaniment. What seems such a simple dish really does burst with flavour.
Whilst enjoying our 2nd courses we were invited to "meet our lobster" which was brought to the table for us to view, before being whisked away to be cooked a la plancha and anointed with escargot butter and squid.
On its return, a couple of courses later it was accompanied by Sicilian red wine which was something I would never have previously contemplated but which matched the meaty lobster flesh and the rich butter perfectly.
After our meat dishes: saddle of rabbit for the boss and veal sweetbreads with wet garlic for myself we were served palette refreshing sorbets, Earl Grey and strawberry.
These set you up for the fantastic desserts; Crowdie cheesecake with strawberries and lemon tart and macaroon with frozen yoghurt. Despite these being our 7th courses you do not feel overfed as the portion size is just perfect for a tasting menu.
The restaurants ethos of "from nature to plate" runs through the menu, quality in season ingredients treated with respect and great care to deliver mouthwatering taste sensations with every course.
Every dish and wine is described to you at table; the thoughts behind the wine matches explained and the provenance of the ingredients detailed, all contributing to the overall experience the Chef wants to deliver.
Again Tom Kitchin took the time to go round every table and chat with each guest, even taking it in his stride when asked by one diner if he was the head chef!!!!!!!
In summary a fantastic experience in a "must visit" restaurant and one we will certainly repeat.
For a special occasion that delivers without intimidating it is hard to beat.
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