I accidentally committed the ultimate food blogger sin. In a pretty restaurant, not far from Oxford Street (ironically enough) called Picture, I watched with an aching blogging heart as battery life bleeped away into nothingness, my lens then deciding completely reformat itself a few days later. But, in the spirit of intrepid explorers everywhere (think Scott in Antarctica, Hillary on Everest, Armstrong on the Moon) I thought hey, as a seasoned eater I can do this, write a review concentrating entirely on the incredible flavour plated in front of us without taking any photos. [Turns out that blogging without photos is like walking down a beach wearing an Arctic coat, just weird feeling]
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Picture Restaurant, but my (many) opinions
are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I
wouldn’t happily visit. And revisit.
Luckily, the lovely, and far more skilled Leyla swung by the next day to take more of her incredible light soaked images of main-size plates and allowed me to share them. Follow her (via her wonderful blog, not down the road, that’s a little stalkery).
As ever, I digress. Sorry about that.
I am terminally indecisive. I’ve written how small plate restaurants somewhat lessen the agony of picking one single wonderful dish (I often end up having two starter sized portions or playing Eenie-Meenie-Miney-Mo in my head). Food envy is not cool.
Fortuitously the tasting menu at Picture solves this conundrum. Asked at the beginning of the meal what flavours you don’t like (the point where you’d mention any allergies) our toothsome waiter gleefully skipped away to fix a round of refreshing elderflower fizz cocktails, with a surprisingly empty list of dislikes, and returned with 6 small courses bursting with flavour. My kind of bloke.
Three dishes utterly stood out for me. The Squash Veloute (pumpkin soup for
the rest of us) was divine. We eat a homemade batch every week during the long
evenings of winter (it’s an antipodean thing I believe) and with years of practice haven’t ever come close. There was a complexity of flavour that left me writing tasting notes “fleeting, teasing, incredible”. Beautifully balanced and rich, it is a perfect Autumnal aperitif.
The second had to be the grilled broccoli. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of goat’s cheese and was curious to see just this Marmite ingredient would be deployed. Delicately placed alongside sweet, crunchy grilled tenderstem broccoli and chopped fresh tomatoes, the fresh curd was sweet and oh so interesting.
Then, we were treated to a beautifully balanced taste of pork cheek (a teasing taster portion, probably perfect for some, but not a greedy glutton like me) before the Sea Bream was unveiled. I would face the nearby Oxford Street crowds on a Christmas Eve Sale night for another taste of this wonderful, plump, crisp taste of the ocean. I rather suspect the rest of our table was the same.
Following swiftly, the 28-day beef was perfectly cooked and counterpointed by swiss chard, salsify and red onion, rounded out with a nicely rich chocolate mouse and selection of textures and flavours.
Rather unassuming on the outside, Picture has a modern interior with pockets of quirky accoutrement and light fittings. Nestled within these clean lines, the focus and passion seems to be squarely on the fare, exactly where it should be. Word on the grapevine is that Mondays are BYOW with no corkage fees (at the time of writing) in a super central location (but away from the crazy crowds). Tell ’em I sent ya.