When visiting Dan Moon at The Gainsborough first things first, you must visit the bar for pre dinner drinks, it’s absolute must. Mixed by Shuka and Tom; we sipped gin based cocktails garnished with the daintiest violets and laced with orange, cinammon and ameretto; tasting layers through the drinks with accents of nutmeg and pineapple and a dash of tabasco sauce . . . yes you heard it right!
Walking across the hallway to the restaurant the décor is a combination of the subtle soft greys like the rest of the hotel but with an added masculine touch of leather armchairs and an impressive backlit wine cabinet which is the key feature of the room, bathing the interior in a soft violet light.
We chose the six course tasting menu and the wine flight, and we were not to be disappointed!
A platter of handmade breads arrived before we started. Light, fluffy and flavoursome it was tempting to each each of the four flavours but one had to leave room for what was to come.
Dan’s food is a creative mix of classic British ingredients, with contrasting flavours and textures, presented with impecable style whilst supporting local suppliers (many of them within a fifteen mile radius). Attillu our Sommellier expertly paired each course with a different wine, explaining his choices and creating a geographical backdrop for each glass of wine.
The first course was chicken liver parfait, with blood orange sorbet, Granola and chicory. The smooth creaminess of the parfait was balanced by the spark of citrus in the orange sorbet and a hint of crunch in the granola. The following course was smoked rabbit and fois gras terrine that appeared theatrically underneath a silver cloche by the knowledgable Veronica, teamed with an Chenin Blanc that had an equally dry smokiness to it, this dish was evened out with a smooth herby parsley puree.
Next was a deliciously sweet sauteed scallop on a bed of crab risotto paired with a king prawn in a double layered glass dish that resembled a bubble cradling the food inside. This was teamed with a Pinot Gris from Oregan, clean and crisp balancing the warm flavours of the shellfish. The following course was one of Dan’s trademark dishes; roast Cready Carver duck which literally melted in the mouth. The duck sat on a matt black plate with a dense and flavourful confit spring roll with a glossy coat of plum sauce. This is not a small dish, the portions for a tasting menu were perfectly sized, however I would count this as the ‘main’ course. Atilla had chosen the perfect red wine to add a warm spicy richness to the dish via a Gran Ducay Reserva from Spain that had been aged 36 months.
The prettiest final course arrived, in pastel shades echoing the sugary sweet Ballet d’octobre desert wine that softened and complimented the sharpness of the pomegranate sorbet and the cloud like lemon mousse that was presented on a matte black dish that finished the visual and sensory theme of contrasts throughout the meal.
Each course was timed with perfection, Atillu’s presence was like a narration throughout the six of them. To conclude, would we return to Dan Moon again? Yes. It is hard to say what my favourite course would be as each one was unique in it’s own way, the presentation is considered and reflects the ingredients beautifully. The staff are knowledgable and enthusiastic, you can tell they clearly love their job. I would highly recommend an evening at Dan Moon, it will be an evening that is not rushed, an experience as a meal that is perfect for a memorable occasion. It is the perfect excuse to venture out of London for a wonderful food inspired weekend.
Dan Moon at The Gainsborough