17 September 2013
It’s the day before my birthday, and I figured I deserved a good dinner. I chose to dine alone, to have a quiet night with good food. I was planning to be on the edge of Chelsea in any case, so chose the well-regarded Medlar for this meal.
The staff were extremely friendly in making the booking, so I already felt comfortable when I arrived. I sat in a corner seat, already laid out for 1. I felt immediately relaxed, even before the martini arrived.
Medlar is known for excellent modern British cooking, so I was looking forward to a very good meal. What I didn’t expect was such innovative and out-of-the-norm wines that I paired the meal with. This was such a pleasant surprise.
My readers know I’ve been rather soured at Michelin-starred restaurants recently (Medlar has 1 star), but this evening will change my luck for the better. I began my pre-birthday feast with the crab raviolo with samphire:
Now I love samphire, so this was a natural choice for me. The raviolo was rich, with a generous amount of crab. We paired this dish with an excellent assyrtiko from Santorini, which worked so well with the rich crab and the samphire. Loved it!
Now this is the sign of a Michelin restaurant that *deserves* its star. I had mentioned, looking at the menu, that I love sand eels (it was on another dish I didn’t pick). So with my starter they brought out a few large ones for me…
Wow, these were excellent, larger than the usual ones you find in other restaurants. What a nice little treat — my first birthday gift of the year! Excellent!
Took a little rest and then my main course arrived next. I was told this was one of chef’s signature dishes — the underblade fillet with snails.
The beef was tender and flavourful, not needing any of the jus or the bernaise that came on the side. The snails was a nice extra, with a slight crisp. The wine I chose to pair was a special surprise, an excellent gamay from the Negotin region of Serbia. The richness of this red worked fantastic with the beef, without overpowering it.
I was extremely happy with this meal so far, not to mention the server who was utterly stunning — she was almost a twin of actress Cote de Pablo. I was utterly mesmirised…
Then the dessert course came, an rich chocolate pavé with malt ice cream. The chocolate was so filling and rich it nearly killed me. Fantastic stuff.
And to go even wilder on the wine selection, I chose an icewine from northern China (!!!!!). Yeah, I was skeptical myself, worried about the dodginess factor. But it turned out very true and tasty, made from the well-loved vidal grape. Turns out Chateau Changyu has been around for awhile and has quality products. Who would have thunk it!
Wow… I barely had room for the petits fours when they came out. I was full and spent. This was a perfect way to mark the end of my year before turning 41 in a few hours. Excellent food, wonderful staff…this is what a Michelin-starred restaurant is all about. There’s a lot of mis-starred places in the US and Europe that needs to learn from places like Medlar. Fantastic.
438 Kings Road