Another evening, another cracking meal at Naughty Piglets.
Particularly outstanding was a dish of Scallops and Camomile. This was absolutely sensational: scallops pared with an almost gel-like camomile sauce given a little weight with a cauliflower puree and seasoned with lardo; a bit of ethereally light crackling rounded it off for texture. What made this great was the way the flavours just moved seamlessly from one to the next throughout the “length” of the dish, each distinctive but each adding a different note – every element there for a reason, whilst the dish still came together as one harmonious whole.
A very classy dish – the best I’ve had in a quite a long time. For me it typified what lifts what Joe is doing above the rest of the “small plates” crowd. Somehow, without over-complicating or overdressing things he always finds an element of genuine interest.
Another example was the inclusion with the Burrata dish of a spoonful of “fennel choucroute” to offer an unusual take on the vegetable and one that sat nicely in texture half way between the crunch of the chargrilled fennel and the creaminess of the Burrata. That said, he’s not afraid to be classical either (I’ve had an excellent Cod with Beurre Noisette and sautéed celeriac, before…) and whilst the style is a bit “small plate” the portions are generous enough so they don’t leave you feeling the need for a supplementary kebab on the way home (see “Frenchie” qv).
Set off with an interesting, clean and apricot-y chardonnay, from the Savoie this was the best meal I’ve had this year and for a lot smaller bill than many.
No arguments, Chez Nous, on this one – we’re both Happy Pigleteers!