And every time I go to make my play
She rolls mighty boulders in my way
What if they built a restaurant and nobody came ? I’ve eaten in empty places before but this felt different. I was in Crescent House, a pub/restaurant which had opened only a few days before on the site of some crappy bar called Babushka.
The start of any new venture must be an exciting and frightening time (in equal measure) for the owners and staff. In theory although there may be hiccups everyone involved should be at the top of their game, high on adrenaline. Not at Crescent House where the owners have managed to create a restaurant which has undergone a radical characterectomy. Honestly, it made the Marie-Celeste look like an 18-30 booze cruise.
The restaurant is putting itself forward as a fine-dining joint but I’m afraid despite the avowed intentions the kitchen just isn’t up to it. The meal wasn’t particularly bad, it wasn’t particularly good. It was just boring. There seemed to be a complete lack of enthusiasm in any of the cooking and as a result I felt pretty bored by the whole experience.
First, a little rant. Not having any bread because the suppliers forgot to deliver and you can’t make it in the kitchen are pretty crappy excuses. What was the chef doing all day ? Dealing with the lunchtime rush ? Look, if Carol Craddock can make bread in a kitchen the size of a telephone box I’m sure anyone can. Rant over.
In lieu of the bread I had some anchovy sticks (with a nice little tarama dip) which could have been improved if they had been made freshly and served straight from the oven. In the event instead of being warm and flaky they were chewy.
My GOS belly pork was cooked well and had a nice lacquer-like crackling but the all-purpose jus was boring. It really needed some tartness to provide a contrast. The flesh tended to stringiness because the knife wasn’t right for the job. There was the merest smear of a cauliflower puree and some girolles but these proved merely decorative.
A good judge of any kitchen is how they handle fish dishes. Unfortunately, the baked turbot had a tough unyielding crust on it and was overcooked beneath. Deeply unimpressive. What tasted like the same jus appeared again and there were summer truffles which had been sliced so thickly they had the texture of cardboard. The dice of vegetables added nothing. I had a pudding because sometimes a meal can be rescued right at the end but even the Moose looked bored at my pannacotta.
As I left, an hour later, I noticed the foursome who had been the only customers in the bar when I arrived had gone. There was a woman behind the bar absent-mindedly polishing some glasses. Somewhere a bell tolled and tumbleweed rolled across the road. What if they built a restaurant and nobody came ? I guess they’d call it The Crescent.