Renna's Discoveries: Adam Handling at Caxton Grill - St Ermin's Hotel

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Adam Handling at Caxton Grill - St Ermin's Hotel

Excited is an understatement when my friend and I agreed to go to Adam Handling's Restaurant Caxton Grill in the amazing St Ermin's Hotel.
From watching Adam Handling on MasterChef UK, I was a fan. I knew from the start that he has skill and talent. He was incredibly focused throughout and delivered amazing food.
When he got to the finals, I was not surprised at all. My most memorable episode is when he couldn't get 'messy presentation' right. Adam really struggled with actually just messing up a plate and putting the food in an unorganised fashion. I agreed, if you are used to making food look like you care, then just throwing it on a plate is not going to work for you. If I owned a restaurant, I'd like each plate to go out like a piece of art. Food to me is art, and should be presented as such. I love the word Wow, and if you say that when a plate is put in front of you in a restaurant, you're onto a winner.

I went with three close friends to celebrate birthdays (Mine included).  Myself and Miss M arrived early, so we could have a look around and have a cocktail in the bar whilst catching up.

When we arrived in our taxi - (we only ever use Gett Cabs - as they are the safest way to travel in London) we were welcomed by a member of staff, who was incredibly friendly and we felt very welcomed. He opened the doors for us to enter the magnificent reception. I felt as if I had already been to St Ermin's Hotel, in my dreams ..... It was almost as if someone had picked out all the quaint and elaborate styles from my head and put them into this stunning reception area.

I'm gutted I didn't have my new phone, as the pictures do not do the area any justice. I now know why I kept reading the description of the hotel as a 'Fairy Tale'. Gorgeous isn't it? Another member of staff welcomed us and asked if he could be of any assistance. We explained that we had a reservation in the restaurant, however we had arrived early. He showed us the direction of the ladies restroom and suggested that we enjoy a cocktail in the bar. Perfect!
The Caxton Bar is a very relaxed calm environment, with the perfect ambiance. The staff members were attentive and fun guys to be around. All of them made us feel so at home, I just kept dreaming that I lived upstairs. There are plenty of comfortable seating areas for private chats and then of course, there's the bar. Which is where we sat. I like to observe and the best place is where the staff is at.
Cocktails !

After catching up and enjoying the staffs company, our friends had arrived and were waiting in the restaurant for us.
We had booked a three course set menu with a glass of Prosecco through Bookatable for £35 each.
The restaurant was quiet as we had a 6.00pm booking on a Sunday. We book these times, as you get immaculate service. Little did we know, that Adam actually leaves to go home at 6.30pm on a Sunday, so if you wish to meet the Man, get there early! I didn't even expect him to in-house on a Sunday, he is clearly a workaholic! I loved the feel of the restaurant, again, very calm and elegant.
After reading through the menu, it was an easy choice for me - although, I would have tasted the lot if I could. I decided on the Salmon to start, the Sea Bream for my main and the Yuzu for my dessert.
I generally choose fish when I'm out, as its not something I cook with confidence when at home. Plus salmon is probably my favourite fish.

Warm bread to start - I loved the way this is presented, you instantly know you are somewhere special. Who displays butter on a rock? Plus, it was Chicken Butter! I've never heard of this before and was excited to experience - I know I know, yes, I get excited over Butter, but when you taste it, you'll know why it is a genius idea. It is a chicken lovers heaven! This was also served with a duck liver parfait. Myself and Miss E were literally fighting over the last bit, it was smooth and silky and just divine.
The warm bread was delicious and clearly had just come out of the oven, as fresh baked bread, has got to be one of the best smells in the world. Both spreads were delicious, and I would happily have this every day.
The Salmon was excellent. It was a soft, melt in the mouth dish. Wow Wow Wow! The salmon was served with brown shrimp and artichoke puree.

This is my Sea Bream before when its hidden under crispy spring onions, and after. Soft succulent fish, full of flavour, finished off with crispy skin. This is one of those Perfect dishes, that will be remembered forever.

This is the Slow Cooked Beef, with Celeriac and pickled baby gem. My friend said that it was incredible.
Desserts were an absolute treat.
This is a Chocolate Truffle served with blackberries and dried iced cassis.
This was my finale, The Yuzu dessert with meringue, crumble and milk ice cream. I chose this over the chocolate truffle, as I've never heard or tasted Yuzu before, and when I go out I like to try foods that I wouldn't normal eat. After reading through Adams Book, Yuzu is actually a citrus fruit from Japan with a very lemony taste. So this infact was just like the best deconstructed Lemon Meringue Ever!
Each one of us enjoyed every dish, which for us, is probably a miracle. We all agreed that, although we were full, we would still have eaten it all over again. It was one of the best meals I have ever had.

Ours friends departed and myself and Miss M decided to go back to the Cocktail bar!
Adams book is scattered around the public areas, and I was extremely tempted to buy one, but after realising they weren't signed, I decided it would give me a good excuse to go to yet another Foodie Festival to meet the man himself. My friend smiled at me whilst mentioning this, as she knows that I had the chance before, but, went in to shy mode and decided against it.

She is a very sneaky friend, and one of the best a girl could ask for!

This is why!
She had actually ordered this book whilst we were there!

St Ermin's Hotel is an absolute must visit. I will be returning one day, and if I win the lottery, Ill be moving in over the Summer Holidays!

So here's my Big Thank You to all the Chefs at Caxton Grill you all clearly have a huge amount of talent and skill. It was an absolute delight eating your dishes.

*UPDATE Adam now has his own restaurant chain