Texture serves modern European food with Scandinavian influences. It’s a speed-dial cert for many assistants, says Amelia Walker
“Do you like bubbles?” I’m a fan of this place already after taking my seat at a table nestled subtly in a corner of the stylish dining room. It rocks a vibe of chic simplicity, mint green leather, modern art and colourful floral arrangements. Housed in a beautifully restored Georgian building on Portman Square in the heart of Mayfair, the main dining room comfortably seats 50 guests while the private dining area is ideal for smaller parties seeking a more intimate experience.
When a PA and I were talking at a PA Life Club networking event, I mentioned that Nordic cuisine is the latest foodie trend and she told me about Texture. I mention this to manager Robert Dokler, to which he responds: “That’s fantastic to hear, although I’m not surprised. Around 30 per cent of all our bookings are made by PAs.”
My companion and I visit on a Tuesday at 6.30pm, having come straight from work. There is a lot of staff prepared for the bustling evening ahead. We’re informed that Chef has arranged a personal tasting menu for us, combining dishes from both the À la Carte and Set Tasting Menu. “You can look forward to an evening of surprises,” says Dokler. If the sweet, warm breads are anything to go by, then we’re in for a moreish evening.
Each individual dish has been paired with a brilliant wine courtesy of the too cool for school sommelier, who explains in a simple sentence her reason for every match – no faffing or fluff. The modern cooking starts to appear and is light, delicate and healthy. We have a Norwegian king crab with macadamia nuts and ginger broth oozing wasabi, and Anjou pigeon and the black angus beef theatrically served on smoky bark. Not only are these of the most incredible quality, but they are also sourced using eco-friendly, sustainable techniques.
The Jerusalem artichoke hazelnut black truffle appetiser is a small dish with big lungs. Veal strips cooked to perfect pinkness and the Icelandic lightly salted cod with avocado brandade are fantastic. The warm smoked eel bonito broth is not my cup of tea, but I’m won over by the salmon and caviar on rye bread decorated with ‘cucumber snow’, which forms a pretty picture. Pickled vegetables, creams, smears of ruffled sauces, blends of unusual textures and tangy flavours are the norm here, all artfully presented in unexpected and imaginative formats – guaranteed convo starters. Service is super attentive and undoubtedly slick, but just that bit too fussy and neat.
For quick business lunches as opposed to a leisurely dinner, a more affordable set menu is available at lunchtime. Guests can expect the likes of yellow fin tuna tartare, cornish pollock, lamb and coconut cake for dessert as example dishes. Two courses are £29; three courses £33.50 and three courses with water and coffee or tea for £36.90.
What we ate
Tasting menu for the whole table £95 per person; additional cheese selection £15.50; five complementing wines £65 per person; five-wine prestige pairing £95 per person
34 Portman St, Marylebone, London W1H 7BY; 020 7224 0028; texture-restaurant.co.uk