Umami bliss at the Landmark
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
I recently had what I can only describe as an inspired 3 course meal at the Winter Garden in the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone. I looked at the menu beforehand in preparation to make sure I knew what I could order. The menu was meat heavy, with only a few veggie options. Having said that; my expectations were a little high, given the profile of the Landmark and the fact that it's rated as 5 star.
For my starter; I had a 'Hertiage Tomato Salad'. This was a small piece of toasted bread with a concentrated tomato sauce, gently grilled mix salad tomatoes, gently peaches and a few blobs of ricotta cheese. This might have been my favourite course, purely because I was really surprised that it worked so well. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the pears was matched very well with the puree that was carefully drizzled on the plate. There was a green reduction that I couldn't quite place that added what I thought was a slight hint of sour, complimenting the ricotta. I think I also tasted some balsamic vinegar, which seemed to bind the flavours together to create an umami taste. I cleaned my plate.
For mains I had 'Grilled Polenta'. The polenta was served stiff like a piece of bread, with a delightful betroot puree, asparagus, broad beans and tiny slices of baby carrot. I was pleasantly surprised by this course because I actually enjoyed all of it, including the veggies. I can honestly say it was the first time that I had tried asparagus, and I would definitely order it again. Personally, it's best mixed with something a little bit sweet, as it does have a slight acrid taste when first bitten. However, overall; it was all very light and the flavours worked well together. I did order a side of french fries, (just incase it wasn't filling enough). I did regret this though, as the polenta was substantial, and didn't need additions.
Stuffed as I was, I was curious to try a dessert. Sticking to my 'plant based' guns, I opted for the one that I thought would have the least amount of dairy. This was the 'Orange Semolina Cake'. The small sponge was split into three, each piece garnished with an orange flavoured glaze. Also on my plate; a quenelle of raspberry sorbet, a few merigue cracks, a small dollop of vanilla custard, drops of raspberry coulis and a few fresh raspberrys. Initially I went in with a spoon, but found it was a little too clumsy and comprised the look and probably the taste of my dish. I then switched to a fork and aimed to eat my dessert in smaller bites, as probably intended. Each bite was a journey, the cake was a little dense, but sweet and reminiscent of a lemon drizzle, and seemed to soften a little when eaten with the sorbet.
If you're ever in Marylebone & have a 5 star craving, I highly recommend it. I was blown away by the careful balance of flavours - especially in my starter!
(Edit: the green 'reduction' may have been sage oil).