Lunch at Mark Greenaway at 1 Picardy Place

So, a venue of Swank with a capital ‘S’ credentials was required for Em’s birthday lunch… My brain went on a ‘Michelin’ and ‘AA’ route around the city, and took little pit-stops whilst considering likely contenders. Figuratively-speaking, I was back in Leith before I knew it, but then I thought about maybe trying out a newbie.
In the past year or so, it could be said that Lunch has become the new rock’n’roll. Taking place at the weekend, or even better, a paid day off mid-week, leisure and indeed time (like the Rolling Stones might have said) are all on your side. Plus, f you accidentally slurp a bit too much shampoo through the course of the afternoon, there’s still time for a quick siesta before dinner. 
Lunch is also great for luxe-ing it up in a Pol Roger style but on a prosecco budget. Most fine dining restaurants offer a prix fixe or market menu, and this is also a wise move for new contenders to get the word out. Enter Mark Greenaway at 1 Picardy Place (previously known as) Hawke and Hunter, a man whose pedigree sports a few AA rosettes under his apron, and is likely to be hoping for more plaudits for this, his first signature restaurant. 
Hawke and Hunter proves a smart choice of venue, as it’s already established on that swank-o-meter. Whilst their dining options had never really caused a blip on the radar before, their bars certainly have. The silver fox and I have enjoyed many an aperitif, digestif and whatever just regular drinks are called, here of an evening.  

The dining room is fairly sombre in terms of décor and colour scheme, but there is some through light from the front to back of the townhouse, so on this mini-heatwave weekend, we didn’t miss too much of the afternoon’s vitamin D. White linen, fancy slates with Maldon salt and butter wait patiently at the tables, along with very contemporary stylin’ little bud vases and oil-filled candles.  

We were treated to a glass of Champers on the house (*thank you*) and had a quick tour of the menu. Three starters, mains and afters to choose from, for a round twenty pounds. But before that, to set the tone for the eats was the an amuse guele to amuse the girls. I have said it often, and maybe it’s been a year or so in terms of the blog, but …I am a slut for anything vaguely truffle flavoured or scented. Before the dinky little glass of spume (foamy soup kind of stuff) was even placed in front of me, I knew it was going to be some kind of mood-enhancing triumph. The smells wafted and taunted and then we got to dip our dinky little spoons in. It was silky, frothy, and the earthy musky flavours were then piqued with little nibbles of baby coriander. Micro herbs are very cute.  

To start, Em had the confit duck on orange jelly, with squares of beetroot and a berry dressing. I thought the duck meat was nice, perhaps a little dry and might be considered a bit of a philistine, but thought proportionately speaking there was too much of the slab of orange jelly to eat through. This rested on slivers of beetroot carpaccio and without a doubt, this is elegantly presented dining with great contrasts of flavour.
My starter was maybe the dish of the day. A raviolo with cod and langoustine, topped with avruga caviar. It’s been a while since I’ve had these little black pearls, and indeed once had a fear of them. I used to work in a fancy restaurant called C in Vancouver, and it took me ages to learn the various types. Finally, thanks to the Beach Boys, I worked my own version of Kokomo . Sing: Beluga, sevruga, come on oscietra…’
Anyway, back to that dish, which was lovely. The sweetness of the seafood, the broth, and the light pasta topped off with the very delicately flavoured caviar–everything here was perfectly balanced. 

For my main course I opted for the pea and mint risotto with poached hen’s egg. You like peas? This was one jolly green giant of a plate of food, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many peas in one sitting and they were almost neon bright, and sweet. Little pods of flavour popping with each bite. The egg was a nice touch to complete the dish, but I think this was slightly lacking  something, and I’ve racked my brains to think of what it might be. I perhaps a touch more seasoning, or just something else in contrast for texture. Either way, it was hearty, tasty and I presume rather healthy!

Emily got tucked in to the Half Free Range Chicken with mini fondant potatoes, confit garlic, onion rings, toast purée, and girolle mushrooms. I had a bite of the chicken breast and it was so juicy, ridiculously juicy in fact. A lovely-tasting bit of bird, and posh roast dinner! 

Desserts were a real treat, in presentation, artistic flair and flavour. I had a chocolate fondant that did the textbook version of oozing everywhere when your spoon touched it. Soft but rich dark chocolate, was paired with a very sweet chocolate mousse under a hat of ice cream. Dreamy stuff. I didn’t quite ‘get’ the little orange flavoured caviar pearls. Not because of the  concept –they were really fun to eat –but would have loved it if they’d had a lot more of a zesty punch to them. The lattice-y crisp tuile biscuit also evidence that someone talented was in the pastry section, and was having a ball.

Em had a funky looking and homey tasting ‘jam jar’ rhubarb and custard, with creamy rice pudding and a dollop of rhubarb ice cream. 

To finish, we were brought a selection of hand-made petit fours, by which time we were realising that this was a stonking amount of food to get through at lunch time. There was a particularly tasty little jelly and some beautiful chocolates. We just about fought off the temptation for a siesta and left the refined cocoon we’d been in for a very enjoyable few hours, both of us vowing to come back with our fellas. Two words that come up when I think back on the food we tried ‘fun’ and ‘refined’, not to mention a show of so many locally sourced and seasonal items, and a slick but friendly front of house team. Thumbs up; Greenaway definitely gets the green light.
PS – This was lunch with my buddy, so I didn’t take any notes, nor my proper camera so these are all BlackBerry shots. I was in a nice little bubbly-induced haze by the time we left, so accuracy isn’t guaranteed on ‘detail’ of the various dishes!
Mark Greenaway on Urbanspoon

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