CORRIGAN'S: BRINGING HIS "A" GAME TO THE GROSVENOR
Be Any Good. You might think this would be the credo underlying The Dos Hermanos Philosophy of Restaurants™. Close, but no banana, my friend. Just Give A Damn would be a lot more accurate.
We’ve been to plenty of restaurants where the food has been objectively good but the atmosphere and welcome have been sticks-up-their-arses frosty. Conversely, there are many places where Michelin may not be visiting any time soon but, goddammit, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be right at that moment.
Even if the food at Corrigan’s, the eponymously named Mayfair restaurant wasn’t all that I’d still be inclined to like the place. How could I not ? The welcome and service was friendly: from the young lady serving me who wanted to bring me the excellent Soda Bread all through the meal, through to the sommelier who insisted on a little vertical tasting of artisanal grappas. The room is great too: very comfortable, lit just right and crucially, no music. Despite this being their first day of business (after a soft opening week) things appeared to be running as if they had been open for years. Always a good sign.
Fortunately, the food’s terrific too. The menu had me groaning with pleasure – not a nice sound, believe me – but then you don’t see dishes like Game Broth with Livers on Toast or Fried Chorizo, Fennel and Apple or a Salad of Game with Romesco Sauce every day. My starter was beyond workaday too, for in amongst the beautifully briny Colchester Native Oysters and sweet raw Clams was a comped dish of a Cerviche of Razor Clams: a lovely, zingy way to prepare that much underused bivalve.
There was more evidence of deft preparation with terrific ingredients in some slices of sweetly porky suckling pig sausages that were topped by a lightly cooked oyster and some slivers of crisp lamb tongue.
My long position on pork was entrenched with Crubeens: brined Pigs Trotters which had been shredded, coated in panko and deep fried to give a sort of Irish take on the croqueta. As a nod to the Iberian Peninsula and just in case you felt a little pork lite, there were some slices of Jamón from Jabugo draped over the top. A little relish of Horseradish and Beetroot provided the contrast to all that porcine richness.
The menu is game heavy, and why not when it’s one of the best food products from these isles. My benchmark for Venison had up until now been the excellent stuff at the Pot Kiln but the rack of Venison special at Corrigan’s was even better: seared on the outside and a beautifully rich red colour within, the meat also had that perfect gaminess which provides a complexity of taste that raises it above the level of just another hunk of protein.
On the side, and possibly one of the most indulgent yet delicious accompaniments you are likely to get in any restaurant, anywhere, was a small cottage pie which had been made with an oh-so-rich mixture of Venison meat and its offal. Believe me if it was any better it would be illegal.
That cottage pie should have been enough to finish me off but despite my advancing years I’m still an Hermano and somewhere North of abstemiousness but South of piggery lay the Lime and Cheese Souffle. A lot of places can’t really make this dish but happily for me Corrigan’s have a master Souffle maker in residence. It was supermodel light with none of that claggy egginess that afflicts lesser specimens. A light marscapone sauce, which added a bit of richness, was poured into the centre. A small scoop of Marscapone ice cream and an extra one of Sauternes (well if you don’t ask, you don’t get) book ended the Souffle.
What else ? Well, there were some good nibbles beforehand of cheesy, crispy things and olives that had been stuffed with goat’s cheese, bread crumbed and deep-fried (how could I have forgotten). Wine is usefully available by the carafe (250 or 500ml) and the staff will happily doggy bag your PFs in foil if you’ve been a fat bastard diner. Oh, and I’m definitely going back.