Last week, meeting a very dear friend for a reunion before he jetted off to another far-away country, I went along to The London Carriage Works on Hope Street for a delightful dinner.
Whilst this might be a little out of our usual budget for a Monday evening, their ‘Autumn Mondays’ offers two courses for £17.50 or three for £22.50, with a bottle of wine thrown in to share. Considering that mains head up to £30 on the A la Carte and the menu is still of an incredibly high standard, this was really excellent value for money.
The service was excellent, starting before we had even arrived with the marvellous online booking system. We were warmly greeted upon arrival and selected our wine alongside some lovely fresh bread. I was rather displeased at the assumption that my male companion would taste the wine, considering that I have much more knowledge on the subject, but this was the only faux pas of the evening.
I started with a Kidderton ash goats’ cheese creation, complete with fig, microherbs and lovely savoury but sweet tuiles. The brittle made this meal, with its extreme crunch and perfect sweetness against tangy goats’ cheese in its original form as well as a perfectly fluffy foam. The textures of this dish were everything I need in a starter! Rob had a chicken liver parfait with perfect little toasts and a red onion marmalade. Considering that he normally hates relishes or chutneys I was impressed to see a completely clean plate!
For main I opted for sea bass, with a wonderful selection of mushrooms and sea beet. The accompanying sauce seemed like a tangy beurre blanc, although I couldn’t be sure. It was delicious nonetheless! I would never normally eat fish skin because it is so often left slimy and fatty, but here it was super crisp, cracking to expose perfectly cooked, light fish, and so I ate it all up.
Rob had a Wirral pork loin, with heritage carrots, fondant potato, greens and some unidentified sauces (I didn’t try these!). I was most impressed that the fondant potato was properly cooked, but of course Rob was in love with the pork.
For pudding, Rob had a chocolate torte with raspberry sorbet, which he made me try. The torte was perfectly rich, creamy and melt in the mouth, with a base that yielded to our forks with ease – no horribly solid base here! The sorbet was intensely flavoured with raspberry, whilst staying light, as sorbet should be.
I’ve saved my pudding until last as it was my favourite part of the meal. I had a basil panna cotta, with chilled strawberry consommé. The panna cotta was wobbling enticingly as it arrived, but was rich with cream and light with herbiness, against the sweetness of the strawberry. Once again the textures were perfectly balanced, with fresh slices of strawberry, basil leaves and finely chopped pistachios adding freshness and crunch. Balancing usually savoury herbs in puddings can be very tricky, but here there was no shying away from the basil flavour so that it matched the fruit, rather than being drowned out.
Overall, we had an absolutely beautiful evening in wonderful surroundings with excellent service and great wine. The food was delicious, with incredible presentation, and such good value for the quality. The menu changes daily so if you head along you may find different dishes on offer, but I would return for that panna cotta alone any day. We were completely transported from daily life, forgetting that it had been a Monday filled with work, and the service was just attentive enough whilst allowing us to get engrossed in serious life chats. I would certainly recommend trying The London Carriage Works, and rushing along to sample Autumn Mondays, and I hope that I’ll be back to visit soon.
Have you been to The London Carriage Works? What’s your favourite place for midweek fine dining?