Dec 7 2013

Glasshouse, The

My boyfriend took me to Glasshouse for my birthday. Glasshouse is one of those restaurants that for years I have seen in the Hardens guide as one of the most mentioned restaurants, that always scored very well on the quality of food, but that I have never visited myself before, mainly because it is located in Kew, so not that easy to get to. Hence I was very happy when my boyfriend booked this and surprised me. The Glasshouse serves modern British food and is owned by Nigel Platts-Martin and Bruce Poole, who also owned two other restaurants in London Chez Bruce and La Trompette (MMm) and out of these two, I prefer Chez Bruce. The Glasshouse opened in 1999 and got its first Michelin star in 2002.

We had a table booked for dinner for 9.30 as my boyfriend was arriving from New York and landing late and going straight to the restaurant. He actually managed to get there earlier than planned and we walked into the restaurant at 9.10. Unfortunately they did not have a table for us, it was fully booked and we had to stand around the reception and wait for twenty minutes for our table to be ready. There were other tables that got empty but instead of giving these to us, they gave it to people with 9.15 and 9.20 reservations, which I guess is sort of ok, but I did think it was a bit cruel to make us wait there standing in a super small area until our table was ready. There was no bar where we could go for a drink, so don’t go there earlier than your reservation.

The dining room is just one room, so you can see everybody in the restaurant and the tables are quite close together, which meant we could have a proper look at the cheese that the table next to us was ordering, and the table next to us also spent a long time looking at our food. The dining room does have very nice and bright paintings which livens the room. The service throughout the meal did not really impress me that much. It seemed a bit chaotic, at times I had to really try hard to get attention from the waiters and it just seemed not adequate for such a well reclaimed restaurant. Also I was not that impressed with the bread they served us, they had three different types but none of them I thought was particularly special.

The main chef at Glasshouse is Berwyn Davies who comes from north Wales and who has traveled the world and worked as a chef in many restaurants within and outside of UK. He joined The Glasshouse as sous-chef in 2012 and in the Summer of 2013 he took over as Head Chef. The menu had 7 starters, 7 main courses and 7 deserts and you chose one of each and pay £42.50 for three courses. I actually don’t like restaurants that force me to have three courses, as I would much rather enjoy having two, but I did later understand why they did this as the courses were quite small and I was hungry after 2 courses, so did need the third.

There were quite a few starters that looked appetizing to us and in the end my boyfriend chose “rabbit ravioli with parmesan velouté, tarragon and pickled mushrooms” and I went for the “Warm winter salad of smoked eel, salt baked beetroot, apple, salsify and cod beignet” although you could also have starters with mackerel, salmon, pigeon, pigs head terrine and artichoke soup, so the choice was wide. My boyfriend got just 1 ravioli. It was bigger than an average ravioli, but needless to say it was a small starter. It was very delicious though and the inside of the ravioli was so soft and the rabbit melted in your mouth and for a while I had forgotten I was eating rabbit and thought this was fish, just because it was so soft. In theory my dish should have been good, as I like eel, and the smoked eel was pleasant and light in flavor. I also like beetroots, and did enjoy the salt baked beetroot on my plate, and I do like cod beignet (little fried cod balls), but for some reason when everything was put together like this, I actually did not really enjoy it that much. The dish looked beautiful, I loved the creativity of the ingredients but something, not quite sure what, did not really work for me in terms of the taste combination.

Whilst I thought there were many appetizing starters, there were not that many main courses that caught my attention. In the end I went for the safe choice of “Rump of beef with swiss chard, hand cut chips, roasted parsley root and red wine sauce” My boyfriend could not choose whether to have Cornish cod or stone bass and in the end went for the “Stone bass with black rice, ginger, braised bok choy, Asian coconut broth and soft shell crab”. Besides these dishes you could also have duck, lamb, pheasant and tortellini. I did very much like my beef, but I did not think there was that much of it, the beef was cut in these thin pieces and there were not that many of them, so I was actually quite annoyed they served me so little food. The chips were nice and I had all of them as I was feeling hungry. My boyfriend’s stone bass was also quite nice, I liked the Asian influence (the head chef has worked in far east, I guess where he got influenced by these Asian flavours). He did thoroughly enjoy the dish and I tried some fish and it was lovely.

I was still feeling hungry after the first two courses, so I was looking forward to having a desert and I chose the cheese course for which I had to pay £5.50 supplement. I did thoroughly enjoy the cheese course though, a waiter with a cheese trolley came to me and I could choose all sorts of cheese and there was not a limit to how much I chose, so my boyfriend and I ended up getting stuffed on cheese. The variety of cheeses, from soft to hard, was great. Also the accompanying biscuits were nice and they gave you three different varieties. My boyfriend chose a piece of cake as another desert which he also thoroughly enjoyed.

My boyfriend liked Glasshouse more than I did. I did not like the service which was not too attentive, the wait at the beginning by the door and also the small portions. Most of the food that we got though was good and I do like Glasshouse more than I like La Trompette but less than Chez Bruce.

Date: 07/ 12/ 13
Location: Kew Gardens
Price for 2 people with 2 glasses of champagne and service charge: £138.83

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Maija rated: 



Glasshouse, The
14 Station Parade, Kew TW9 3PZ
United Kingdom
Glasshouse, The Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5