It’s been a bloody long year for the gastronome, eh? Despite a few special chef-made deliveries and an endless stream of experimental dinners (a novelty which, frankly, wore thin in the first few months), there has nary been a meal that truly knocked my socks off.
Which is why, like many of the people who’ve seen their favourite places shut their doors throughout the pandemic, I booked in to Paris House as soon as the government said ‘go’.
For this all-important champagne pop of a meal, you see, there really wasn’t a better option. Paris House is a special occasion box ticker; more tasting menus, terraces, cocktails and deer (no really, its set in the rather extraordinary deer park of the Woburn Estate in Bedfordshire) than you could shake a stick at.
Most importantly, of course, being the food itself…
When settling in for a naughty afternoon tipple on said terrace we were presented with a little bite of tender, hyper-seasoned wagyu beef sandwiched between greens from Paris House’s very own backyard garden.
All of was, indeed, an amuse-bouche-ing sign of things to come.
Tastebuds rattled, we waltzed inside and set upon the tasting menu, starting with a ceviche of gilt-head sea bream, pops of pink grapefruit, white asparagus and salty fingers.
It was my least favourite dish of the day–lacking ever so slightly on seasoning–unlike it’s follow-up; slices of Asian spice-beef fillet with sesame, radish and shiitake, which was as moreish as it sounds.
Next to delight was a small hot and sour Tom Yum ‘soup’ poured over perfectly-seared scallops, the most delectable little cuttlefish surimi dumpling, and shreds of finger lime.
The big hitter, both personally and eavesdroppingly, took the form of an incredibly earthy Creedy Carver Duck arrangement with fricassee of spring vegetables, a pea velouté, and a Jersey Royal potato sliced like an accordion.
By this point the cocktail (ahem, cocktails) had kicked in, so we plumped for a plate of artisan cheeses with carefully curated garnishes. And you, dear eater, definitely should, too. I haven’t had a better cheese board in years (lockdown and all).
Naturally, the cheese board made the impending double dessert delivery difficult to get through, but not impossible. A ‘Pimms Cup’ of poached strawberries, clotted cream and saffron mousse, Pimms-soaked Savoiardi biscuits, cucumber and mint jelly arrived just before a bitter chocolate tart with sea salt caramel, pecan streusel and jersey milk ice cream. The latter of which, naturally, died in vain.
And still, no regrets.
(Oh, and before I forget, the dress is a petite bardot lace midi dress from Chi Chi London. Home of 90% of my very favourite hide-the-food-baby dinner gowns.)