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Friday 13 November 2009

London Supper Club – Pierre Koffmann Restaurant on the Roof

Pierre Koffmann Restaurant on the Roof

The “ultimate” in what is now a well known trend in London’s restaurant scene, Pierre Koffman’s pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges is one of those foodie experiences that I simply could not miss. After reading an excellent review by fellow food blogger Kavey from Kavey Eats, I called Selfridges and was placed in their waiting list – a couple of days later and due to a very welcome cancellation, Dr G and I were finally booked in.

The marquee that was specially built looks good – not tent-like as I feared but sturdy and rather spacious. The décor is elegant and quirky, with those striking chandeliers made of large interspaced deer antlers also used in The Reindeer at The Truman Brewery (another pop-up restaurant set up by the Bistrotheque team for Xmas 06), and various bowler hats reminiscent of Rene Magritte.

Dr G and I made our choices, deciding to share all dishes. To start the evening we were served an amuse bouche of “Carrot and Orange Soup with Potato Foam” – the soup was full of flavour, and the potato foam made it rich without the heaviness of the more usual double cream.

Our first starter was the “Fricasse of Wild Mushrooms and Snails with Bone Marrow” – having just had some wonderful roasted bone marrow at Pizza East the week earlier, I was very keen to try this dish.

It was creatively presented as the marrow had been scrapped off the bone, made into two small white spheres and placed on thinly sliced toast. The marrow cavity was then filled up with wild mushrooms flavoured with a concentrated and delicious reduction.

The second starter “Cocktail of Scottish Lobster with Avocado Guacamole and Lemon Jelly” was served in a martini glass, and the flavour combination was spot on – the meaty chunks of lobster, apples, avocado, and lemon jelly tasted and looked sensational together – it was fresh and zingy but also creamy due to the avocados.

Pierre’s signature dish “Pig’s Trotter stuffed with Veal Sweetbreads and Morel Mushrooms” was absolutely fantastic – I have eaten pig’s trotters before in Brazilian Feijoada (Brazil’s national dish) but was never fond of them. It takes amazing skill to make what is one of the most unappealing cuts/pieces of pork into something so utterly delicious. The skin was melting in the mouth, the meat and veal sweetbreads were incredibly soft and well complemented by the morel mushrooms. The sauce was highly concentrated and sweet, tasting of caramel and Madeira wine.

The “Royale de Lievre with Red Cabbage” also did not disappoint – various cuts of roast hare with a fine sauce reduction and buttered tagliarini. It was an intensely rich dish, and by this point in the meal, we were feeling rather sated.

For dessert we shared the “Pistachio Souffle with Pistachio Ice Cream” and the “Chocolate Fondante with Vanilla Ice Cream”. It was worth having to wait the additional 20 minutes for the souffle – it was a dazzling display of culinary technique, being light and intensely flavoured with pistachio. The chocolate fondant was dark and luxurious, and well balanced with a delicate ice cream.

To drink, we had a bottle of red Vacqueyras 2005 @ £38. It was more than what I would normally have paid, but for cooking of this quality, it seemed appropriate. The wine (a more affordable alternative to the nearby Chateauneuf du Pape) accompanied the dishes very well with the exception of the lobster. This was followed by some dainty petit fours and coffee.

The service was very friendly -  I was frantically typing all dish names on my Blackberry when one of the waiters offered to give us a couple of menus. She had them signed by Pierre Koffmann before giving them to us.

Verdict – Superb cooking, classic French dishes with a sophisticated twist. At £220 for two, including wine and service, I was pleased to have had this unique experience with a culinary legend. Although the portions were sensible, the concentration of flavour was so intense that it took some hours for my appetite to recover.

Pierre Koffmann - Restaurant on the Roof on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow, I'm honoured that my blog post is what prompted your visit, and then relieved that you had a great experience!

    And, in a strange little coincidence of timing, I went back again today. The first time, my husband couldn't make it, so I offered the second place to a twitter friend. So this time, I took the husband along. He had the hare too and thought it fantastic!

  2. I had the lobster followed by the hare and finally the souffle when I went about a month or so ago. Reading about it here reminds me that this really were the best flavours that I have tasted all year. Thanks for bringing it all flooding back!

    The fact that I am thinking about going back despite the cost says it all. If only expensive Christmas wasn't so close!

  3. @ Kavey - I definitely owe you one for a great recommendation. I hope you enjoyed your second visit as much as your first one. I look forward to reading your "revisited" posting.

    @ Dan - Hi and thanks for your commentary and becoming a follower! I had an amazing meal, and indeed although it wasn´t cheap, I felt it was one of those food experiences a true foodie could not miss. Another similar experience was at Nuno Mendes´flat, you may like to read it under "London Underground Restaurant Review - The Loft". I had twelve courses accompanied by wine in the guy´s flat in Hackney, he is a ex-El Bulli chef too. It was also superb but not cheap at 115 pounds per person... That may be your xmas present to yourself!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  4. Hey,
    I went to Koffman's too and very interested by your comments. My foie gras starter was I think the most perfect foie gras I have ever had, and I loved the trotters. We were ambivalent about the bone marrow and snails, despite my long standing love for roast bone marrow and parsley salad at St John, and had the special of sweetbreads, which was frankly awesome. The souffle was unbelievable, although I maintain they use sweetener in the recipe! Comments welcome...
    It was a unique experience. The enthusiastic but inexperienced Admirable Crichton staff actually added to our enjoyment of the evening.

  5. I love your underground posts!
    Wow, the decor is so cool. And the menu sounds divine.

  6. @ Rafael - Hi Rafa, thanks for your comment and for becoming a follower of The London Foodie!

    @ Lori - Thanks Lori, I will be posting another review shortly for Fernandez and Leelu as I will be dining at their underground restaurant this Friday, so watch this space!

    @ Antonia Eats - glad to see you here Antonia, and to learn that you are a fellow eurasian and food blogger! Loved your blog and particularly your posting on Noma. I would love to go there one day. Have you tried Nuno Mendes' The Loft? I have posted about it here too. Interesting that we both agreed on the bone marrow, i was a tad disappointed with it.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  7. Hi Bathmate - thanks, I am glad you enjoyed the posting! Hope you will be checking out my other postings on Supper Clubs, I will be posting my review of the Saltoun Supper Club tomorrow.

  8. Beautiful photography and delightful writing as always! Reading your blog always makes me hungry...

  9. Hi Anonymous, thanks for the encouraging words, I am glad someone is enjoying my blog, this is definitely a labour of love!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  10. These dishes really look mouth watering desserts..They are amazing..I liked them..


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