karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
[personal profile] karohemd
I first had a taste of Russell Bateman's food when he provided the main for the Tommy's charity dinner at Alimentum last year and since then I'd been wanting to visit Colette's the restaurant he heads up at The Grove hotel in Watford. After a series of public transport failings (half an hour for a bus, signal failure outside Cambridge), I made it to the hotel just in time for my booking. Kyle (who used to be sommelier at Alimentum) kindly gave me the grand tour of the sprawling building with its various lounges, bars and restaurants, all held in a simple, elegant style. I also had a quick peek into the kitchen before taking my seat in the restaurant. This is also held in mostly white with very low lighting (fellow food bloggers, take heed) and widely spaced tables dressed in white cloths.

I'm going to keep this review relatively short as there is a lot to go through (counting all the extras, I had 16 courses) and let the photos do the talking. In every dish the ingredients were perfectly cooked/prepared, stood out on their own while harmonising wonderfully with the others on the plate and offered an interesting mix of textures, just what you want in a fine meal. The following spectacle of culinary delights took almost four hours. In addition to a glass of champagne with the canapees, I had a different wine with almost every dish (a few were paired with the same wine) so I think it was a total of 12 glasses. Not very big ones but definitely enough to make me very happy by the end.

Colette's - Canapes
Canapees: White ham, pork and mustard, crab, samphire on squid ink biscuit


Colette's - Bread

The bread deserves special mention. Not only is it freshly baked on the premises but it's served in a warm linen sack with hot baking beans in the bottom that will keep the bread warm. The butter and olive oil were superb, too.

Colette's - Pea amuse bouche
A pea based amuse bouche. Lots of clean, fresh flavours.


Colette's - Scallop
Scallop, peanut, radish, lime. If I had to pick a favourite dish, this would be it.


Colette's - Jerusalem Artichokes with Truffles
Jerusalem artichoke, truffle, truffled soldiers


Colette's - Pig's Cheek
Spicy braised pig's cheek, coconut. This was served with knife and fork but could easily have been eaten with a spoon so tender was the meat.


Colette's - Foie Gras
Foie Gras terrine with apple and celeriac


Colette's - Cod
Another fish dish: Cod with heritage carrots


Colette's - Pigeon
8 spice squab, Grove honey, apple


Colette's - Lamb
Salmon cut of lamb leg, Jalfrezi spices, sweetbreads, glazed aubergine


Colette's - Cheese
A small cheese course. just one variety (Colombier) but this had everything I love about cheese, elements of brie, blue and washed rind.


Colette's - Lid Colette's - Palate Cleanser
A palate cleanser: Mango and papaya salsa, yogurt foam, passionfruit


Colette's - Cheesecake
The tiniest slice of cheesecake ever but it was great. I couldn't have eaten a normal slice, anyway.


Colette's - Lemon Parfait
Lemon parfait and little meringues


Colette's - Chocolate
Jivara chocolate, thyme ice cream, Seville orange, black pepper to finish.


There were some petit fours, too but I had to pack up quickly to catch the last train from Watford Junction so didn't get a phot. They were pretty and delicious, like everything else. There are a few more photos on flickr.

Many thanks to the teams front and back of house at Colette's for looking after me so well. I won't forget this meal anytime soon.
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