Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Giaconda Dinning Room

This is a great restaurant that serves very good food made from excellent well chosen and sourced ingredients.

The restaurant has about 32 covers and is likely to expand into some unused space at the rear.

It is clear that Paul Merrony the chef and co owner has a very specific food philosophy and has not only had a top (cooking) education that includes Le Gavroche London, La Tour d'Argent in Paris and top restaurants down under but has chosen to apply his superb technique to serving Franco/Italian bourgeois/home cooking with the addition of the odd British classic.

I plan to eat my way through the menu over the next few weeks.

But based on my first meal I was thoroughly impressed.

Artichoke vinaigrette was perfectly cooked , served and presented.

The simply grilled rib eye steak served with some sliced tomatoes that actually had taste was excellent.

I also tasted a good pork chop ( probably Gloucester old spot or Tamworth) and a remarkable pigs trotter starter.

The wine list is mainly French , Italian and Spanish with for London minimal mark ups ( a bit like Andrew Edmonds)

My guest had a prune compote with creme anglaise and ice cream that was stunning whilst I had a very good Stilton from Neal's Yard

Negatives for me were the bread - Ciabatta and the chips. I expected the latter to be hand cut real chips but the restaurant had either run out or always serve Brake Bros or even McCains. I appreciate the restaurant staffed by one front of house and Paul + an apprentice in the kitchen cannot do everything but if you are going to buy in bread than I would recommend something a bit more crusty form say Baker & Spice (wholesale). As for chips no excuses !

This is exceptional cooking at very good value.

11/06/09 Update

I have continued to regularly visit The Giaconda Dinning Room since my first visit and am happy to report that the excellent value and exceptional cooking continues. Paul is very much like his namesake Smith who is famous for classics with a twist.

For example today I had the Rigatoni Putanesca ( normally this is Spaghetti and the addition of Parmigiano a total no no) , Vitello Tonnato ( here radicchio , boiled egg and new potatoes are layered with the thinly sliced veal tonnato) and to finish perfect Eaton Mess with the addition of a poached Peach. Generally the twist tends to work !

It was also good to see Simon Hopkinson a man whose Palate , cooking and writing I greatly admire and respect, enjoying his Lunch here with a couple of friends. I have been lucky enough to eat food cooked by Simon at both Hilare and Bibendum.

I also noted that proper and very good chips were back :-)

Giaconda Dining Room on Urbanspoon


Douglas Blyde said...

Come on, was it actually a "great" restaurant? D.

Gastro1 said...

You make a good point perhaps I need to use some sort of pots system.

What I would say having been here 7-8 times to date is that the only faults I could find are the chips mentioned and the use of Parmesan cheese in the Putanesca which was deliberate and thought through but a no no for me !

This is not La Meranda in Nice but I still consider the use of the word great acceptable for this type of restaurant - I would never use the word great in connection to say The River Cafe for example which is vastly overated !

Gastro1 said...

I mean points sytem btw

peter hall said...

I can PROMISE you that we don't use McCain's chips - we would rather commit seppuku. And the bread comes from Camisa - can't get better than that!

Gastro1 said...

Thanks for stopping by.

I'm sure you are right about the chips on that day they were probably Brake Bros but believe me you can do much better than Camisa your Ciabbata .