One Hundred Succulent Layers and the King of Tartars
by John-Paul Pietrus, Editor at Large
The Cavendish have reopened their kitchen doors with chef Douglas Santi at the helm.
I was recently invited to a thirteen course meal to try out a bit of everything. All ingredients were organic and locally sourced. What a treat!
We dined upstairs in the eggshell blue interior filled with natural light. The eggs benedict was blissful, the tuna tartar tantalising, the josper baked artichokes heartily satisfying, but there were two dishes in particular which really got me going.
The 100 layer lasagne was surprisingly light and fluffy, not dense at all as one might expect. And.... It really was 100 layers! Yes, we did really count them. This was classic comfort food with a bit of chic refinement. Chef had plenty of time to perfect this one as it was grandma's specialty! From the taste of it, I'm sure nana would have been pleased.
The other one which really turned me on, and I mean that in every way, was their special steak tartar. Wow. I mean WOW. HONEY, WOW! The meat direct from HRH Queen Elizabeth's favourite butcher, Aubrey Allen, ensured that the texture was perfect, soft and tender, avoiding that horrid mushiness some tartars have, and also absent of any chewy and sinewy annoyances. And that was just the texture. The flavour, OH LALA! HOT DAMN! My taste buds opened up like flowers to morning sun, basking in the radiant flavours of that finest quality beef, capers, Dijon mustard, olive oil, shallots, the surprising addition of Parmesan cheese, and their secret special sauce. It was a revelation. It took great effort for me to not wolf it down, but then that would be disrespectful, oh not to my table mates for they were busy scoffing down, too, but to this gorgeous procession of flavours. This king of tartars, teamed with a robust Pinot noir from the ample wine list, actually succeeded in capturing my full attention and I forgot about my broken washing machine at home, that annoying ex I lent money to and never got back, and all of those other boring things that were on my mind before I sat down to dinner.
The rest of the menu was great, too, and we finished all off with a beautiful dessert wine and fresh strawberries, but the lasagne and steak tartar were the two things that really stood out to me and cemented my decision: I am most definitely returning to dine at number 35 New Cavendish!