After a Monday evening dinner at La Trompette I can definitely understand what all the fuss (and it’s Michelin star) is about. We had a marvellous dining experience!
Welcomed warmly and shown to our table we were quickly asked about apéritifs and water, offered advice on the wine menu from the sommelier and offered some rather splendid bread so good that I asked for more shortly afterwards. I went for the walnut and raisin bread, Pete for plain white and my sister for what I think was olive and tomato. I can only comment on mine which was moist, light and flavoursome with generous chunks of fruit and nut; I know I could eat that bread every day for weeks without tiring of it!
When we ordered, I mentioned that I had a dislike for endive and could they either replace it or omit it from my chosen main dish. This was handled with a very can-do attitude and I was impressed when another member of staff popped over a few minuts later to let me know that the chef was suggesting a bed of spinach with some caramelised shallots alongside and would that be a suitable alternative? (It was).
My sister and I both went for a starter of “Crisp fried cod croquette with mussels à la marinière”. The ‘croquette’ was a fish cake, beautifully made with light, firm white flesh within and crispy golden breadcrumbs without. It sat on a bed of unusually plump and sweet (shelled) mussels. The marinière sauce was thicker than in a traditional “moules marinière” which worked well as an accompaniment to both mussels and fishcake.
Pete opted for the “Foie gras and chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche”. The parfait, served in a small clay pot, was light (possibly whipped?) and yet unctuous and rich at the same time, with all the depth of flavour one would expect from foie gras. The thin gelatin layer on top was sweet and mild. Our waiter was very attentive and, when he noticed Pete had just a few bites of brioche remaining, offered to bring him another slice, though Pete decided he didn’t need it.
Pete and my sister both went for the “Roast rump of Scottish beef, shallot purée, pomme cocotte, baby onions, oxtail crouton” for their main. Full of flavour, the steak was also very tender. The oxtail on the crouton was pulled into strands, matted together with the stickiness of it’s own sauce and was a deeply savoury few morsels. The accompaniments all worked well with the meat.
I was pleased I chose the “Duck magret, crisp pastilla of confit leg and foie gras, glazed endive, spiced duck jus” instead, served, as previously mentioned, with spinach and caramelised shallots instead of the glazed endive. The slices of duck were just as tender as the beef steak and worked well with my substituted spinach. The pastilla was wonderful, with a crisp exterior of filo enclosing a smooth, highly-flavoured duck and foie gras paste. The spiced ‘jus’ was the star of the dish offering a sweet, rich intensity of flavour and yet never overwhelming the flavour of the duck itself.
I was, once again, the odd one out, choosing the “Pistachio parfait, cherry ice cream, pistachio and polenta cake” for dessert. Pete and my sister went straight for the “Vanilla panna cotta with poached rhubarb and biscotti”. I might have opted for the “Valrhona chocolate marquise, milk ice cream, macadamia praline, caramel, chicory crème” if not for that last element, deciding it was a request too far to ask for the chicory crème to be omitted, though I’m sure they’d have done so with good grace had I done so.
My pistachio parfait was light and delicate, presented between paper-thin sugar crisps. The vivid green pistachio and polenta cake was moist and delicious, with none of the graininess I feared that polenta might impart to it. On it’s own, it would be a perfect afternoon tea indulgence. The cherry ice cream was a touch too sharp for me, though I’m aware that my tolerance for sharper flavours is much lower than normal; I’ve never been able to enjoy a lemon sorbet without my jaws literally locking solid!
The panna cotta dessert came in more layers than expected with the rhubarb compote at the bottom, a generous layer of panna cotta above it and the whole topped by a pale pink rhubarb foam. The expressions on both faces as they simultaneously tasted the foam were magical, as both blurted out surprised delight at the intensity of flavour contained in a medium with absolutely no solidity to it at all, all the more of a surprise because the foam was not obviously so, looking more like a pink cream than the frothy bubbles associated with culinary foams.
Drinks wise, I went topsy turvy by enjoying a glass of Muscat dessert wine as an apéritif (and finishing it with my starter). My sister went for a glass of red and Pete stuck with bottled still water (I rather like that they print the price of bottled water on the main, single-page food menu).
After the meal, Pete and my sister both enjoyed a glass of tawny port whilst I savoured a glass of Pedro Ximinez. And what a glass of PX it was – richer, more intense and full of more complex flavours than other PXs I’ve enjoyed in the past.
By the time we finished our meal, we were certainly replete and in very good mood indeed.
For us, this wasn’t a special occasion so much as an indulgent treat, but certainly, I’d return to La Trompette again in a heartbeat for birthdays, anniversaries or any excuse I could find!
I thoroughly recommend it!