Modern European cuisine with Scandinavian influences. I had to go.
Opened in 2007 by Icelander Agnar Sverisson and Xavier Rousset, Texture received its Michelin star three years later and continues to delight much more than the sense of taste.
My perception of Texture’s ambience and clientele was momentarily thrown off by the arrival of (who my mother had to inform me were) JLS and their entourage. Luckily the party left the bar for a private dining room. Which I later accidentally gate-crashed when trying to navigate back from the facilities.
The adventure began with crisps, served in a stone bowl. But not a potato in sight. Instead, shavings of friend Parmesan, wafer thin rye bread and crispy cod skin made a moreish accompaniment to glasses of Ascot: ginger infused Kir Royale.
Being led from the bar round to our table, I was struck by how small, relaxed and down to earth the restaurant is – with servers and diners to match. Paintings of lava bring to mind Iceland’s volcanic character and the table is set with crockery painted by an artist of the same land. Further allusion to the Nordic isle is made when the butter – whipped with yogurt – arrives on top of a chilled rock to then be spread over perfect and warm sourdough bread.
Each course – including a chilled chilli gazpacho amuse bouche – is placed lovingly and carefully down: the presentation is glorious without being pretentious. The chargrilled quail is delicate and tastes as free-range and healthy as if it were hand reared in Eden and comes with sweetcorn, bacon popcorn and red wine essence. The Norwegian Crab manages to be meaty and silky all at once and is garnished with coconut, ginger and söl – dried red algae.
The main course of salted Icelandic cod comes with a shaving of chorizo and avocado and is just the right size – no micro dining here. A 2007 Pauliac Chateau Pibran made it all the more delectable.
The kitchen is partially hidden behind frosted glass cabinets, yet one would barely know it. Courses are magiced up so calmly and discretely it took us until half way through dessert to even realise that the epicenter of genius was located almost within striking distance of out table.
Cheeses from Britain, France and Sweden and a palate cleanser of apple sorbet preceded a dessert of Valhorona chocolate (that had the earthy appearance of rich soil) and anise ice cream. Dessert was further accompanied by more sweets “on the rocks” – cardammon truffles, Fisherman Friend’s lollipops and toasted pistachio madeleines, beautifully arranged over a miniature heap of slate stones.
Texture – as it name hints to – tantalises one’s sense of touch as well as that of taste. The dishes are adventurous and creative whilst still satisfying. As I write this, savouring every sentence, I know that I could without a doubt return this moment and eat it all again. Worth each and every pound. My only criticism: there were too few cod-skin crisps in our bowl!
To lust over the menu and make a booking, click here. Not recommended for people who are averse to indulgence.