When I think back to our trip to Europe back in December of 2019, it feels like a surreal other world that no longer exists. I'm not even sure when and if we will ever return to something that resembles that time.
At the time, Bryan had been traveling to Europe a lot due to his work. It meant we often spent one to two weeks apart while he was in Europe and I stayed in Hong Kong.
However, the stars aligned in December and I was able to come along with him for a week long trip to Paris and London.
Our time in London was relatively short, but we did manage to squeeze in one nice meal right in the neighborhood where we were staying, Mayfair.
The Greenhouse in London has held a Michelin star since 2004 and has had two Michelin stars since 2013. The food is exquisite, beautiful, and thoughtfully designed. I loved it!
Here's a closer look at our meal.
Elegant, beautifully plated mini canapes arrived all together at once. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful black "pillow" shaped crackers, each topped with a dollop of cream and a single black truffle slice. Each bite had its own unique pop of flavors.
Next was freshly baked mini-French baguettes, served with Himalayan pink salt & Madagascar pepper butter.
We had a choice between two first courses, so we each picked one in order to try them both. On the left, a gorgeously presented oyster-themed dish hat included oyster shaped into a sphere to look like a pearl, spherical potatoes, caviar, and a rich cream sauce. On the right, gorgeous pickled root vegetables that looked like autumn, Cornish mackerel escabeche, a light vadouvan cream, and a marinated carrot, fennel, and coriander jus.
I told the server I didn't want foie gras and asked for a replacement. They suggested the "clam chowder" which was AMAZING! This gorgeously presented dish included cockles and razor clams served with confit potatoes, Sarawak pepper, and a light clam veloute. It was a lovely interpretation of a very elevated form of clam chowder that still kept to the fundamentals of clam chowder's flavors.
Bryan loves foie gras so he was very happy with the foie gras course. A beautiful slice of foie gras came with ridged pan-cake like toasts on which we ate the foie gras and the accompanying jam.
This gorgeously rich and flavorful polenta was definitely not your average polenta, with egg, chicken jus, and shaved white truffles.
Our final main course was beef consommé served with a smoked bone marrow "pot au feu". Pot au feu is traditionally a very humble and classic French dish. Literally meaning "pot on the fire", it describes a beef stew made with beef (typically cheaper cuts that are cooked for a long time), root vegetables, and herbs. This elevated version kept to the spirit of the dish but served the beef consommé as a separate broth and turned the "stew" into more of a sauce.
The cheese cart was a sight to be seen! It was hard to pick from so many lovely cheese (mostly from France), but we finally chose five and loved them.
Desserts are really impressive here, and we enjoyed several as well as a lovely assortment of mignardises at the end. Some highlights include the bone apple tartine, which had a really nice, authentic apple flavor, and the smoked vanilla macaron, which I absolutely loved.
General Thoughts - The Greenhouse London
I personally really enjoyed The Greenhouse. My strongest memories are of the earlier courses, whose exquisite, artistic, and creative presentations really blew me away. All in all, flavors were spot in, service was excellent, and the overall meal was really very nice.
In some ways, that seemed like such a different world now, and thus many details are a bit hazy. Still, I have very fond memories of this meal and I would not hesitate to recommend the restaurant.