For starters, MG ordered the bouillabaisse (£8.75) and thought it was stunning. MG’s rather hard to please with food and is a “connoisseur of French dining”. A spoonful of his starter later, I believed him and wanted to gobble up the full bowl. Frankly though, it was a generous portion for a starter and was absolutely filled with fruits de mer. Rich and comforting, it was definitely a good start.
Major food envy.
Feeling like I needed a hefty portion of greens, I also ordered a salad of cauliflower and kale (£7.80). Topped with two big slices of prosciutto, I thought this was nice enough although I would have preferred my kale slightly chewier on salads.
The pork was ever so slightly on the tough side, perhaps just about 30 seconds over. And the crackling wasn’t too crackin’. However, I did like the flavour on the jus and the lentils were delightful. Not bad for effort!
For sides, I ordered the aubergine croquettes (£3.65) which sounded so promising… and looked promising when they came.
I loved the crisp and crunch on the coating but I think it lacked the aubergine flavour. It was quite filling though, and to be fair, a good accompaniment to my fishy Mediterranean dish. I scooped up the Moroccan sauce with this and it was lovely.
So far, we were having an okay meal. Starters definitely trumped the mains.
And then our desserts came.
I ordered the Ferrero Rocher cheesecake (£6.25), a nostalgic tribute to a) the chocolate choice of my youth and b) the chocolate choice of boys I loved before. It was a triumphant cheesecake in a sense that it wasn’t as rich as I feared it would be nor as sickeningly sweet. I didn’t care much about the Ferrero Rocher on top, but the cheesecake was really delightful.
MG likes his tarts (hyuk hyuk) so he ordered the pear and almond tart (£6.25). I’m not usually a fan of anything resembling marzipan but I liked the flavour of his dessert, too.
Overall, I thought food at The Portman’s dining room was decent enough. The menu has a lot of classics and comforting favourites. It was nice and cosy up there and service was lovely. And don’t get me started on that cheesecake. Nor that bowl of bouillabaisse. I think with a teeeeeeensy bit more refinement it could just be very outstanding.I was invited as a guest of The Portman but for transparency, the bill came up to around £105.
I’m glad to notice that more pubs in London are starting to revolutionise their dinner/dining room offerings.
Do you have a favourite pub?