This weekend we headed to the big smoke to celebrate Tom’s Mum’s birthday at Pollen Street Social. My ‘in-laws’ have been proper converts to Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social for some time and we were excited to try it!
With one Michelin star, it describes itself as a modern-day meeting point. A place to eat, drink, socialize, both for special occasions and for informal everyday affairs. It couldn’t be more accurately described. Our party was celebrating a sixtieth, whilst the table next door, a lone diner tucked into his taster menu.
It has an easy atmosphere just with excellent service – The Good Food Guide awards it 9/10. Really it’s just the service which would be nice everywhere, especially in places which prize their gastro essentials. The wine sommelier was knowledgeable in a non-overbearing way – his father grows one of the wines on the menu, and very nice it is too. Ask the sommelier, he’ll point you in the right direction.
Pollen Street Social Set menu
The set lunch menu at £37 a head is a good way of having a Michelin starred three-course meal at a reasonable price. Here’s what a few of us had….
Woodland mushroom rice, aged parmesan, braised white kombu & scallions
Pressed terrine of Guinea fowl & smoked pork knuckle, port & bacon jam, root vegetables
Breast of pheasant from the Borders, almond & pistachio crumb, turnip braised in orange, quince & pommegranité
Braised West Country ox cheek, celeriac, parsley & anchovy purée, bone marrow crumb
Roasted Cornish cod, St Austell Bay mussels, parsley & seaweed broth, parsnip
Provence is important to the team at Pollen Street and source best produce from across the British Isles. They are also keen on seasonality and food miles – the amazing butter is from Gloucestershire – 710 miles away.
Forced Yorkshire rhubarb, crème fraiche mousse & rose petal
Bread and butter pudding ice cream, blackberries & Ardbeg whiskey
If you’re looking for a boozy filled itinerary for the rest of the afternoon, I’m going to share another one of my ‘in-laws’ good finds – Bar Americana. As they said, don’t be fooled by the outside of Brasserie Zedel home to the classic American bar, serving traditional mixed drinks ‘in the most glamorous, authentic Art Deco surroundings’ as Time Out puts it.
Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo
Nicely sozzled and several PIna Coladas down we headed to Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo at the Royal Albert Hall. This year’s circus – the Cirque’s 25th show – opens up the world under our feet, of insects and all creatures great and small. It’s an easy theme to get into with the Brazilian soundtrack and exotic costumes. A party of ants expertly truss life-size kiwi slices with their feet whilst two butterfly acrobats swoop across the audience. It’s certainly eye-popping!