I spent months trying to decide which restaurant to book for my husband's birthday treat and I finally decided on EMP. You really do need to book as soon as it's available in order to get a table. I sat at 9am when reservations opened with 4 computers constantly loading open table and the only time on a friday evening I was able to secure was 9.30pm!
I had high hopes of the experience and we weren't disappointed. These guys really know how to put on a show. Service was second to none and the little touches and amuse bouches were inspired.
I'd made a request while booking that my husband would love to see the kitchens and this request was honored, and then some. We were treated to a cocktail in the kitchen prepared by one of the chefs and then James Kent came over to offer his congratulations and talk a little about the kitchen and ethos (great guy BTW). It really was a fabulous experience and although I know this happens for lots of guests you really do feel special.
My husband loved the food and perhaps I just picked the wrong things but for me some of the food was a bit of a disappointment. My 'Almond' first course was rather tasteless (maybe as it followed an amazingly flavorful apple tea!) and my 'Malt' dessert was just crumbs on a plate so I struggled to work out how it was supposed to be eaten, perhaps my actual dessert had fallen of the plate during service! The biggest let down was the famous duck. The main dish was amazing but the dark meat they bring back was in a very strong red wine reduction with a far to creamy/buttery potato on top, both of us took a small nibble, had a small coughing fit, and left the rest.
By the end we really were struggling. We were there until well after midnight and by dessert I really did need the evening to end, which was a shame.
Would I go back? probably not, it's a show and once you've seen it, you've seen it. Saying this I don't regret the booking, we both had a fabulous time it's just not somewhere you return for the food.
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