dines at Corrigan's Mayfair...

Choosing a restaurant in our house always begins in the most random way: Richard Corrigan has been on the telly quite a lot lately, what with Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen, and the Hubby wondered why we'd never been to his restaurant.  He was adamant that he'd never seen Corrigan's Mayfair on Upper Grosvenor Street, or heard anyone mention it.

To be honest, even though I knew it was there, I'd never actually seen it, and my 'usual' black cab chappie gave a me a breakdown of every building in the street but declared he'd never seen a restaurant there... So Corrigan's is a bit like that building in Harry Potter - invisible to the uninitiated...  This makes entering the building even more of a surprise, because the interior is actually enormous, and must span the whole of the block:

There's a very good bar area, restaurant seating, and a private room off the main restaurant.  The room feels very like a 'posh' Cecconi's, except with a great deal less bustle.  It was only about 25-30% full during our meal, although there was a function being held in the private room.  With a room like this, less bustle almost constitutes less atmosphere.  Given that we were asked twice to ensure that we were finished by 9.15, one had to wonder what they were worried about.  Did people suddenly hot-foot it all the way over to Upper Grosvenor Street at 10pm?

Thank goodness we were only offered one amuse - hurrah!  This was a little ball of mozarella in a sort of doughnutty/brioche in crispy parmesan breadcrumbs, smelled fabulous and pretty tasty.

To start I had a very lovely crispy duck egg, with English asparagus, mustard hollandaise and pea shoots.  It was very yummy and the runny yolk obviously worked very well with the asparagus.  The Hubby had the terrine of foie gras, which was constructed using layers of foie gras and thin slices of brioche.  The Hubby felt this dampened down the flavour of the foie gras somewhat.

As a main course I had the pan-fried john dory with a raw artichoke and apple salad.  This was very clean, and the acidity in the apple worked very well with the rest of the dish.

The Hubby had the red mullet with chorizo, salt cod and parsley.  The mullet was cooked very well, and the salt cod complemented it, and was well seasoned.  However with little salt cod and chorizo on the plate, there wasn't a great deal of flavour.

Dessert anyone?  Yes, we would have quite liked dessert, but after waiting for some time for someone to give us a dessert menu, and then some time for someone to return to us, the urge had completely gone.  I had quite fancied the one with the salted caramel (clearly this years' favourite flavour with chefs), but didn't fancy waiting for it to arrive.

This highlights the one main drawback to Corrigan's for us: the room is very good, the food is fine, yummy and seasonal - well done Mr Corrigan.  The staff however are pretty haphazard.  At one point I asked the Hubby if he felt we were sitting in the trainee section of the restaurant.  The older staff were extremely well informed, polite, adept, discreet - everything you would expect.  The junior staff were gauche, uninformed, and inattentive*.  I would recommend going in a slightly larger crowd as you may need to provide your own atmosphere.  To be fair, I would assume this place is heaving at lunchtime, and it may be a better first introduction to the restaurant.

* Actually, I'd like to correct this comment and qualify it.  The staff were not entirely inattentive, but I think this highlights a common complaint for diners - there's an enormous difference between ensuring that someone's glass is topped up, that bread plates are removed, etc, but these days in restaurants of this calibre it simply isn't sufficient!  The diner is looking for the staff to read their signs - do I look like I want something - do I look restless - do I look like I've made up my mind?  Staff need to actually look at the diner, NOT just look at the table.

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