Mr Smith goes to Outlaws at the Capital for dinner
At last chance for Mr Smith to try food from Nathan Outlaw…
It was time to take advantage of the London Restaurant Festival again and try another new restaurant. This time I had booked myself in to Outlaws at The Capital, another restaurant in Knightsbridge, I seem to be spending a bit of time around that side of London at the moment.
I had wanted to try Nathan Outlaw’s food, but his main restaurant is a bit far for me to go to, so this was a great opportunity to try, what I hoped, would be some delicious fish with great cooking.
It was a Thursday night, but this time I was not staying over, so I knew I would need to take the long journey home after the meal. I left work and arrived at Victoria and in normal Mr Smith style I walked to the restaurant, every calorie burnt is another one I can eat. Again I headed through ‘Embassy Land’ and found the restaurant without any trouble. I knew I was going to be early, so I went in to the hotel and headed to the Capital Bar.
I had a very prompt and warm welcome and took a seat to look at the bar drinks list. A great list of wines and cocktails, but I knew what I wanted, a pre dinner glass of fizz. I decided on English (after all our fizz is some of the best in the world) and had the 2010 Gusbourne Brut Reserve from Kent. Not one I had heard of before, but it was delicious and accompanied by a nice try of olives and nuts. I tried very hard not to eat all the olives, tough, but I managed to stick to having just a few as I did not want to distract myself from dinner.
While I was relaxing the Sommelier came over to talk about the wine list for the restaurant, which was very long and comprehensive, including a good selection of wines by the glass. As normal, I asked for assistance and recommendations, which she was more than happy to give and instantly came up with options that sounded interesting and not ones I had before, just what I like.
It was time to head in to the restaurant and I was shown to my seat, a good one with a view of the kitchen but also back to the bar, great for people watching. I was first in, after all my reservation was at 6.30 which is opening time. A few others came in shortly after, but I settled down to wait for the food. Given that it was the special festival menu there were no choices to be made, but I was looking forward to what was on there.
The Sommelier brought out the first wine for me, which was a Bacchus Reserve 2013 from Denbies Estate in Surrey. Again, trying more English wines and this one is quite local to Mr Smith, but I have never tried a Denies wine and had to put that right and when this was suggested as a good match for the Salmon, it was a no brainer to choose it. It was delicious with some good notes of fruit and a long finish and it worked beautifully with the Salmon, but more on that in a minute
First up for the food was the Smoked Eel & Mash Fritters. The Eel was not heavily smoked, but just enough to get the flavour and enhance the taste of it, and then you get a fresh vibrant hit from the herb mayo. A great little start.
Next up was the London Gin Cured Salmon, which as I said worked perfectly with the Bacchus. The one thing I did not really get much from the dish was the gin cure, just a tiny hint, but the salmon was lovely and soft and full of flavour. The accompanying elements were great and the balance of horseradish in the yogurt was perfect and the apple, fennel and dill salad was an excellent contrast in terms of flavour and texture.
Then the main event, the Beer Battered Haddock. The crispy batter was perfect and the haddock flaked beautifully and had a good flavour, perfectly done. The surprise was the tartare sauce, not sure what I was expecting, possibly a traditional tartare sauce, but this was warm and filled the plate, concealing some lovely lettuce which made a good surprise. The only complaint, for me, would be that I would have a liked a bit more oomph in the sauce, but that is nit picking. There was a good balance to it overall, but the real treat was the garnish, deep fried and dried capers, they gave a beautiful salty hit to match with the fish. I had not had anything like that before and they are amazing. Lovely dish, with a very delicate but we’ll matched wine, the Woodcutter Marsanne Rousanne Viognier 2012, from Torbreck in the Barossa.
And finally it was time for dessert, the Sommelier had chosen an Elysium Black Muscat 2013 from Andrew Quady, Madera in California. I had not come across Black Muscat before and was really looking forward to it, I was not disappointed. The nose gave me a real hit of Sipsmith Slo gin (one of my favourite drinks, so that is a big compliment) and on the palette it was gorgeous, rounded, voluptuous and a big surprise
The Deptford & Raspberry Pudding had the most perfect crisp pastry and Deptford is the London version of Bakewell. The ice cream, initially, did not have much flavour, but let it sit on your tongue for a few seconds and the coconut comes through really well. The pudding itself could have done with a little lift (maybe comparing to Bakewell is not good as it was still very nice), but when you get a berry and then try the wine, wow, what a beautiful hit of fresh berries all round your mouth. I do not think there would be a better wine to go with it.
Overall a very pleasant evening, with good food and great wines. The service from the Sommelier was excellent. The only down side was 2 cheeky kids who strolled in to the restaurant doing trick or treat. Not something I favour anyway, but let alone just walking in to a restaurant and harassing people. The staff, unfortunately did not really know what to do (not something that would happen every day) as they were still trying to serve the dinners. It did not detract for long though or ruin a good evening, a minor annoyance.