As the diners arrived and Le Patron handed us a glass of Kir Royale, Mme Quizette was putting the finishing touches to this row of intriguing starters.
My visit to Hidden Table on Saturday was my first foray into secret dining and what a fine introduction it was. The whole evening felt rather like attending a dinner party with thoughtful hosts and interesting fellow guests. Upon arrival Le Patron led us into the anteroom and gave us a glass of Kir Royale. Mme Quisine appeared with a platter of Amuse Bouche based on the lightest Choux pastry imaginable while Mme Quizette added the final artistic touches to the starters which were laid out on top of a covered, full size snooker table (on which also sat a magnificent double bass – how cool is that? ).
Due to someone else’s misfortune forcing them to cancel (they came down with mumps, poor sods) there were spare places at the table. This meant our hosts, unusually for these events, were able to sit down and eat with us, which was an added bonus – but I’m getting ahead of myself; back to the beginning. Upon booking at Hidden Table guests are asked if Mme Quisine and Mme Quizette can assist with any specific dietary requirements (we have none, we eat everything but the offer was there). Le Patron worked patiently through my PayPal problem whereby my account decided it would not accept my stated email address when I tried to pay my deposit (despite PayPal having sent the payment request to it in the first place). Straight away one gets the sense that the evening will be relaxed but also professional. And indeed it was.
The food falls somewhere between that which you would be served at a dinner party hosted by a friend with a reputation as a fine cook and a highly regarded local bistro in France. This was a six course meal with well thought out little touches like the palate cleanser between courses, for example, or the use of quince in the almond tart instead of pear.
The mark of a good meal with this number of courses is that the portions are set at a size which allows the diner to actually eat all of them and this was the case here and furthermore, the fundamental error usually made with such menus was also avoided, i.e. that at no point does the diner actually get a proper plate of food! Our main course was a well executed French classic which ticked the box of actually being a dinner rather than a mere suggestion of food arranged on a plate like some sort of culinary joke of whom you, the diner, are the butt. Instead, this was seriously good food and a seriously lovely evening. As food adventures go I can highly recommend it – there is a link for Hidden Table’s Facebook group at the bottom of this review. Click. Join. Book. Enjoy. You won’t be disappointed.
A beautifully seasoned, perfectly textured Mushroom & Walnut Pate on French Toast with a light Chestnut Puree and dressed lambs lettuce.
A silky, smooth Veloute of Jerusalem Artichoke accented with a little lemon zest and, I suspect, a touch of cream.
A classic melt-in-the-mouth Beouf Bourgignon made the authentic way and served with sweet potato puree, buttered new potatoes and French beans.
Zingy, refreshing Pink Grapefruit Sorbet with grapefruit zest and a hint of vodka to cleanse the palate between courses.
These hand-written little cards were scattered around the large dining table as conversation starters – evidence of thoughtful attention to detail!
A generous serving of mature, crumbly stilton set on a light, crisp biscuit topped with home-made red onion marmalade.
Another expertly executed classic but this time with a twist, Quince (instead of pear) and Almond Tart with fresh chantilly cream.
Coffee with Chocolate Air…..
This is the only way I can describe these delightful little pieces of chocolate loveliness which came with the coffee. They were a sort of cross between cake and truffle. They were divine.
to join Hidden Table’s Facebook group and find out about future supper evenings.