Texture: Textbook (February 2015)

Expectations inevitably run high whenever it’s a special evening out, you’re dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant and, you’re opting for the tasting menu – which ought to show the chef’s expertise at its best. Nonetheless, a recent evening out at Texture saw both my dining comrade and I highly satisfied by the overall experience. We had visited the restaurant once previously together just after it had opened and were slightly underwhelmed on that occasion, feeling in particular that the place lacked in either atmosphere or innovation. Five years on and having heard good things recently, we ventured back and were not disappointed; broadly, Texture seems now to have hit its stride, knows what it is good and excels in this respect. Prior to dinning we enjoyed a bottle of champagne in the bar adjacent to the restaurant. Our server very helpfully and knowledgeably talked us through the extensive list of champagnes (perhaps the largest in London) and we eventually settled on a superb bottle of Drappier. We appreciated the fact that we were bought four separate snack options to alleviate our peckishness while drinking: two of these were specially prepared for my vegetarian comrade, and two for my more omnivorous palate. In our experience, not all comparable restaurants are so assiduous in this respect. We were also impressed by the things Texture could do with popcorn – in a bacon-flavoured version (obviously for me), one could almost taste the sizzling rashers. Onto the dining, and we were ushered into a beautiful – and mostly full – room, characterised by its high ceiling with ornate cornicing and discrete examples of modern art on the wall. Texture characterises its cooking style as ‘modern European with a Scandinavian twist’ and we were both delighted with the relative originality of the tasting menus with which we were presented. From my perspective, it was a delight not to see the almost obligatory scallop dish at the start of the menu and the similarly almost obligatory slab of beef as the main highlight. Instead, I marvelled at the delicacy of my wood pigeon (certainly the stand-out dish for me) and also the intensity of the venison steak, served in an unctuous chocolate sauce. In general terms, the chefs at Texture seem to prefer flavour intensity of the underlying substance with which they are working over the unnecessary adornment of dishes with superfluous ingredients. The formula certainly worked for us. My comrade also praised her food, but could not help feeling slightly disappointed with her primary dish being ‘cauliflower textures.’ Cauliflower, sadly, is not the most interesting of vegetables, and with regard to this vegetarian dish – and a number of the others – there seemed to be a discernible lack of starch. Despite this quibble, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, certainly helped by the paired wines (different for me and my comrade). The whole experience does not come cheap, but is definitely worth it, with Texture ranking among the best high-end recent meals we have sampled.