Restaurant Review: Texture, Portman Street in London
Texture is one of those places I had been told about and wished I’d visited before. It was over 12 months later that I managed to make it down to Aggi Sverrisson’s fine-dining Icelandic realization for an evening of cutting edge gastronomy within the handsome Portman Estate Georgian townhouse.
Champagne bar and Michelin starred restaurant as one, Texture champions the fresh dynamics of Scandinavian cuisine with an impressive collection of champagne and fine wines which unite to create an unexampled conceptualisation. It’s profound when service is so intuitive that it challenges the kitchen, and this is certainly the case here on Portman Square. The staff at Texture seem to know what I need before I do and we are comfortably seated abreast its champagne collection which allows for snapshots through to the bustle of the kitchen beyond.
Emulating classic modern European dishes but with the characteristic of Sverrisson’s Icelandic touch, beautiful ingredients skilfully present the rich hidden decadence of this seamlessly harsh country in its most glamourous form. Following a selection of homemade breads matched with dark black volcanic salt and smooth Spanish olive oil, is a special of meaty langoustines immersed in a fragrant soup. My guest opts for chargrilled anjou pigeon from the a la carte menu. Foot and all, the pigeon is creatively presented with sweetcorn, shallots, bacon popcorn and a red wine essence which is illustrated across a large, flat round plate. Scottish salmon with Exmoor caviar, mustard, sorrel and rye bread or yellow fin tuna with ginger, soy, fennel and coriander are also available to welcome diners.
Following an impressive truffle concoction that had been wrapped in green fern pines are Texture’s main courses where they pull out all the stops. Black Angus beef, charcoal ribeye with short rib, horseradish and girolles presents us with a show of its own with a setting of smoking charcoal and further evergreen ferns. Another land based option, we chose creedy carver duck breast with choucroute, bulgur wheat and quince which is a tender cut, shining in amongst its own quality.
Following another aperitif – this time bright green, frozen and refreshing are Texture’s Icelandic inspired desserts. White chocolate mousse with ice cream, dill, cucumber is paired with the sommelier’s wine choice of a 2007 riesling auslese monzinger halenberg. A Vanilla ice cream with rye bread crumbs and alphonso mango comes with a 2012 tokaj szamorodni, itsván szepsy from Hungary. For a savoury finish are a selection of cheeses.
An entourage that includes a Michelin star, The Independent New Restaurant of the Year in 2007, Best Newcomer at the Catey Awards in 2010, The UK’s Best Wine List, The 2012 National Restaurant Awards and 4 AA Rosettes more recently in 2015 each speak for themselves and conclude in a refreshingly distinct creation.
Celebrating ten years, this September, the fine dining restaurant has also recently hosted an exclusive series of one-off collaborative dinners with some of the UK’s most talented chefs. A list of memorable names to mark the occasion include Raymond Blanc OBE of two Michelin-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ saisons, Vivek Singh of The Cinnamon Collection, Arnaud Bignon of two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse and Michelin-awarded Ollie Dabbous of Henrietta. To top this off Texture also hosted a one-off evening with Gaia Gaja of Gaja Winery to celebrate a decade of paired wines and dishes.
Texture: 34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY, 020 7224 0028, 34 Portman Street, W1H 7BY, London, www.texture-restaurant.co.uk