Dinner at Cannizaro House, Wimbledon.
Part of the rationale for visiting Cannizaro House was to review the two AA rosette fine dining restaurant. An elegant room looking out over the sunken garden, this is a relaxing place to sit and enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner. The kitchen at Cannizaro House rises admirably to the challenge, offering a tasting menu for £50 (there’s a vegetarian option) as well as a three course menu for £45. Being slightly awkward and in the company of the pescatarian Hedonist, we had our own mix and match version of the tasting menu, which may just have led to some challenges in the kitchen and had a few odd results.
Bread and rather nice portions of wrapped butter started the meal. Nothing particularly remarkable, but nothing that might offend either the bread was fresh and seemed to have either been made in house or from a local artisan supplier.
The amuse bouche was a lovely morsel of cod with samphire and a mint crumble on a light potato puree.
Next up should have been the Creedy carver duck breast. But, my pescatarian friend couldn’t have eaten that, so instead we had one of the dishes from the vegetarian tasting menu – ‘Truffle; which is a ‘truffle fermented’ arborio risotto with black truffle and marscapone. I’m not entirely sure what ‘truffle fermented’ means – the result though was a lovely truffled risotto which tasted as good as it looks.
On a nearby table there was a small girl of about 8 years old enthusing about the tomato consomme. And quite rightly so, it was I think one of the prettiest presentations of a soup I’ve ever seen and it tasted fabulous. Light and fresh with just a hint of smokiness, the buttermilk ‘cheese’ making a pleasant contrast to the consomme.
The confit of Var salmon arrived with a tiny rissole. Very delicate and light, I asked and was told it was a slow cooked salmon mousse. Beetroot puree was just a little overpowering, though it did make the dish look really pretty.
I didn’t get to taste my companion’s courgette flower, which was served as an alternative to the chicken I enjoyed. But I heard no complaints
My photo of the chicken doesn’t really reflect how good this dish looked on the plate. A tiny head of braised little gem surrounded by pea puree and girolles made an excellent light accompaniment to the tender chicken with miso dressing.
Next and rather unexpectedly came a pre-dessert of strawberry sorbet. I have a bad allergy to strawberries and couldn’t touch it and while it looked very good, I can imagine it was a little tricky to navigate the sorbet from the edge of the bowl without a catastrophe.
I thought to start that we’d missed a course, but I’ve realised subsequently that the cheese course is actually an additional £8. A shame, because it sounded rather good and if I’d spotted the need to ask on the menu, or been prompted I would have preferred that to a pre-dessert that I couldn’t eat.
The main thing though was fine – and really rather good. Pina Colada parfait with mango, coconut rum jelly and matcha. It was a lovely mixture of flavours and a nice finale to the meal without being in any way overpoweringly sweet.
A pretty plate of petit fours rounded off the meal nicely.
My feeling at the end was that while the food was for the most part superb the whole thing didn’t quite add up.
I suspect that might have been partly because the matched wines were confused by our mix and match version of the tasting menu. I didn’t feel confident that the wine we were being served was the right pairing with each of the dishes, though each was extremely good in it’s own right. For example, while I loved the 2012 Villa Wolf Pinot Blanc from German producer Ernst Loosen, it seemed a strange accompaniment to the Truffle risotto. And, nor did it make a good match for the gazpacho which we were told it was also meant to accompany.
Perhaps I’ve just been spoilt, but I’d hoped for some explanation of the thought process behind the pairings. Or perhaps it was just that I felt the food was so good it deserved that extra special level of service. It is that kind of level of detail that makes the difference. I’d give the food a strong 9/10, while the service for me sat at around 7/10. Nevertheless we had an excellent and very enjoyable meal and the price is very reasonable – even with matched wines, the meal would have cost £80.00