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The Capital

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It was good to meet Richard at last. Richard has been Eric Chavot's number two for over a decade and for a number of years his wife was a colleague of mine. She would regale me with stories of the "who'd be a chef" variety, but Richard has stuck with Chavot through three restaurants and last night he emerged from the kitchen at The Capital to finally say hello after a meal that I will do well to better in the UK this year.

 

Richard was in charge in the kitchen last night so it was to his credit that every aspect of the meal was spot on, including the service and the wine advice.

 

A lovely amuse of Cod Brandade with Cod Foam lifted by turmeric and chilli got things going swimmingly-a marvellous accompaniement to the last of the Gosset champagne

 

A starter of Assiette Landaise-which was several forms of duck on a plate knocked out anything of that type they try to serve up at Club Gascon. It was wonderful-if you like duck. Fahro's generous tranche of Foie Gras with Pineapple and Mango was decadent. The recommendation of a glass of Gerwurz from Diess for the duck dish was perfect

 

I had Turbot and Fahro had Lobster for mains. Her dish had a nod to Italy in the accompanying Tagliolini and an intense Sauce Vierge, and mine had pasta as well in the form of mushroom raviolis as well as some lovely gnocchis, but the accompanying Sauce Diable was resolutely Gallic. A 99 Macon-Domaine de BonGran from Thevenet really hit the spot with both dishes.

 

Desserts were little masterpieces around their theme-apple and banana- and the petit fours and chocolates we couldn't manage were packaged up for us. Service here actually approaches the Le Gavroche level, something I didn't think happened elsewhere, although I DID have pour myself some wine once

 

Compared to retaurants like The Fat Duck and Tom Aikens, this restaurant remains rooted in France. It doesn't float free like they try to do. However nor is it becoming moribund in the way places like The Waterside Inn are. It is more like Aubergine in that is condfident and assertive, happy with its French pedigree and concentrating on deliciousness and high quality service.

 

For the discerning gentleman, in fact

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Glad to hear you enjoyed it. We had a great meal at the Capital last summer and would definitely go back. I'm afraid I don't remember much about the meal now except a little pre-starter of langoustine tempura in a seafood bisque which really was one of the most exquisite things I have ever tasted - on a par with The Square's Cornish crab lasagne.

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I only went there once, a couple of years ago, and all I remember is .... salt, salt and more salt.

 

Apart from the food, I like the place- nice room, nice service, and very comfortable. Maybe I should try it again, when Eric is away and Richard is cooking :lol:

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I only went there once, a couple of years ago, and all I remember is .... salt, salt and more salt.

 

 

I have also found this to be a fault at some cheffy meals, but not at this one.

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My main criticism of the Capital has to be the use of Bacon in almost every dish. Last year I mentioned this to the Maitre D' and he acknowledged that it was a problem for him especially when trying to recommend dishes for people who had religous reasons for not eating it. Has this changed?

 

From February 2006:

 

We went to Capital last night. I found it a frustrating meal in many respects. The cooking is good technically, everything cooked perfectly but I find Chavot's obsession with bacon distracting. It appear everywhere, completely unannounced. Scallop veloute was a good amuse, good depth of flavour with a nice smokiness provided by the bacon. We both chose a White Onion veloute with Langoustine, and what I think was a Mushroom & Truffle Tortellini. The Veloute could have done with perhaps being a little thicker but the flavour was beautiful, distinctly white onion the sweetness complementing the Langoustines very well indeed. The Tortellini were rich, smooth with a nice hint of truffle, they sat on top of comfit (?) onions which were meltingly soft. Within the veloute were crispy piece of what I believe were bacon and perhaps some crispy shallot. An excellent dish.

 

A main course of veal (Dutch, I did tell her not to bother but she ignored me) was disappointing, great texture but flavourless veal with a balsamic sauce, mushrooms etc. etc. an underwhelming dish. Rabbit stuffed with Olives served with Grilled Squid, Tomato Risotto, Coco beans, was again well prepared and cooked,. The Risotto was in a package of some sort and was intense with tomato and a little smokiness that gave it a slight chorizo flavour. Of course the smokiness probably came from the bacon. Coco beans were served in a tomato sauce again smoky with bacon. Squid and rabbit perfectly cooked and all the Bunny Offal served alongside on a skewer. An OK dish, the individual elements worked well but I never felt it really came together as a whole.

 

Bernard Anthony Cheese was a treat and a half, the Comte was "around 3 years old", apparently they had recently finished a 2001 Comte. The Comte was superb, The Eppoise good. The Roquefort was a little salty but the texture was like whipped cream, incredibly light, it disappeared within seconds of hitting your mouth. My selection of cheese was huge, I forget/was unfamiliar with the remaining cheese but in total I had around 7 generous serving of cheese which didn't appear as a supplement on the bill which was nice. Rachel chose a chocolate dessert, a fondant, Millefeuille but was disappointed.

 

Overall solid cooking but it's not 2 star cooking in my mind, a solid one star no doubt at all. The room is still awful, Rachel commented that it looks like the room in the hotel where you take your breakfast, it wouldn't surprise me if that is what it is used for in the mornings

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Bacon was nowhere to be seen on the menu the other night. It might have cropped up in some dishes but not in those we had. The Pave of Sole dish is served with Toulouse Cassoulet which presumably contains some porky bits but that was all that was obvious from the menu. Maybe your criticism has been taken on board.

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Funny you should mention the bacon. When I reported on a long dinner at the Capital (ages ago - eGullet?), I felt the chef was riffing on traditional British food here and there. I swear there was fried bread in one of the dishes. And yes, bacon 'n' eggs here and there too.

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I've been a number of times at weekend lunch and the whole bacon/english breakfast theme has always been a consistent trend.

 

Have never been weekday lunch or evening so never been able to find out if this is sustained at other times. Looks like it is...

 

J

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I've been a number of times at weekend lunch and the whole bacon/english breakfast theme has always been a consistent trend.

 

Have never been weekday lunch or evening so never been able to find out if this is sustained at other times. Looks like it is...

 

J

 

Not from my dinner it isn't

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