May 18, 2009

London: Wodka

Last month, when I was in London for the Book Fair, I had the opportunity to try out a couple new restaurants.

I met up with a client at Wodka Restaurant located at 12 St. Albans Grove in the Kensington area. I had a long leisurely walk from my hotel in South Kensington through some gorgeous domestic neighborhoods to arrive at an unprepossessing restaurant-front that led to a clean and crisp interior with an elegance that belied its simplicity.

Originally, I had very much wanted to try their foie gras blinis, but was regretfully told they were not serving them that night. Instead the two appetizers ordered were kaszanka and pelimeni. The former is a grilled black sausage, somewhat similar to blood sausage, and served with pickled red cabbage and pear -- the pear added a nice counterpoint, I thought. Pelimini harks back to Siberian sources -- they are veal dumplings with bread crumbs and butter. Very rich and quite filling, I didn't make it through the entire serving before deciding I needed to pause to be sure I had room for the main course.

For entrees: We ordered spicy beef goulash with potato dumplings. This came served in a cast iron staub pot. I must admit, it is nothing like the goulash I ate as a child which was an American imitation (it didn't even have smoked paprika in it) that put me off the dish for years. This had a rich sauce and was full of roasty flavor. For the other dish, there was roast guinea fowl stuffed with goat cheese and herbs. Very tender and tasty.

The wine chosen for dinner was Cotes du Rhone Villages "Nature", Domaine La Fourmente, Visan 2007. This is a mix of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from clay soils and mature vines (25-55 years). A lovely dark red with a peppery and fruity taste.

By the time we finished, we just didn't have room for dessert. I was very tempted by the poached pear with chocolate sauce, evenso.

Posted by Jennifer at May 18, 2009 9:27 PM | TrackBack
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