It was time for the annual Mr Smith ‘Christmas party’. To keep up with tradition it was not your normal Christmas party. This year it was time to get down to The Kitchen Table, for what was probably the best Christmas party ever (Mr Smith Style)…
Mr Smith had managed to get a booking at The Kitchen Table, but had not told The Mrs Smith, the traditional Christmas guest, where we were going, or to be honest anything about it at all. Always adds to the surprise.
After meeting for the first surprise of the evening, a few different wines in Vagabond (which will definitely be subject of a further visit and post), it was time to stroll up the road. We went in to Bubbledogs for a glass of lovely champagne and The Mrs Smith still had no idea where we were going, even though we were standing in the building. We were then taken through the curtain that revealed the surprise.
For Mr Smith it is quite possibly the best concept out there, the kitchen counter all the way around. You can sit and watch the chefs at work, you are right in the action, but you also get chance to interact with the chefs and other guests. A brand new experience for The Mrs Smith, which pleasingly went down really well.
The other unusual aspect is that the menu will change on a daily basis and you only get a one word description of each dish. Which to be honest really gives no insight at all to the gorgeousness and surprises that are delivered.
Watching the chefs prepare the food in such an ordered and precise way is amazing. The timing is impeccable and all delivered to the guests at the same time, along with a great explanation from the chefs of what the food is and where it came from. Just about all the vegetable are from the restaurants own garden, which is great and shows how much they care about the end to end process of food.
It would be impossible for Mr Smith to explain about the flavours of the food, it has to be experienced, but hopefully the pictures will give an idea.
The biggest compliment that can be paid is that as the dinner progressed the favourites kept on changing with just about ever new dish. The other great thing is that some of the dishes are ones that would not have normally been ordered. The Mrs Smith is now a convert to both Oysters and Duck Hearts, both of which were incredible (the Oysters a great fresh way to kick things off). Mr Smith has never been a fan of pears or prunes, but would be more than happy to eat both of the dishes day in day out.
The biggest surprises came in the form of 2 desserts, the cep and also the artichoke. Both of these were divine but played with your mind, savoury desserts are definitely the thing of heaven. Food that gets you thinking, and in a very good way.
The menu developed, to perfection, throughout the whole dinner, accompanied by some magical wine pairings, with the food enhancing the wines and vice versa. A new pairing was even discovered, which hopefully they will try. Mr Smith arranged for a glass of Sherry and also a Sake at the end and the Sake was amazing with the Vanilla.
Just a few of the highlights:
- Oyster, delicious fresh start
- Parkerhouse served with beef fat, perfect bread and anything served with beef fat is heaven!
- Mackerel, paired with the wine was incredible
- The pumpkin with the fresh truffle at £7000 a kg was a wow
- Stilton on an English Crumpet, divine
- Cep, definitely plays with the mind
- Artichoke, quite possibly one of the new favourite things
So that is a Mr Smith Christmas party. It can be safely said that Mr Smith will take that any day over a traditional party and once again Mr Smith was the last to leave a restaurant, this is getting to be a habit, but you have to enjoy every last minute of it, including relaxing at the end and having a chat with the chefs.
There is one problem though, Mr Smith may have made a rod for his own back with this one, he is not sure if it can be beaten. Oh well, if not then it will just have to be at The Kitchen Table again next year for more great food and wine from James Knappett and the team.