HIS Majesty’s Theatre knows how to stage a good production – there’s no question about that.
But much like a great show, a brilliant meal needs an intriguing and promising beginning, a solid and satisfying middle and a cracking end that’ll leave you talking.
And in this case, HMT’s 1906 isn’t just the first port of call for a top night out for a show, but a very good restaurant in its own right.
As much as I love rollercoasters and daredevil rides of all sorts, I am usually petrified of heights. So sitting upstairs in the glass-fronted building, next to the see-through, wall, in the sleek but simple largely wooden room, I wasn’t at my most relaxed.
But the tension was soon cut with the pleasant staff bringing us the a la carte menu.
And to be fair, they did it very well.
I started with a terrine of pork belly, dense and meaty, run through with black pudding and sweet apricot that offset the mild smokiness of the pig. A sweet onion chutney provided balance, and some salty oatcakes ramped up the seasoning and added some texture.
A charcuterie board for my dining partner, with crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth tender duck, smoky, honey ham, and herby (if slightly rubbery) chicken was equally well-reasoned. Cornichons added some tartness and sourdough toast some background and it was duly polished off.
Following that, a surprise palate-cleanser in the form of a sherberty lemon sorbet was a welcome change.
Moist and tender chicken with crispy, golden skin was stuffed with salty bacon and served alongside light and fluffy fondant potato. Unfortunately, my companion couldn’t find the apple and sage mousse which would have elevated a delicious dish into an exceptional one.
A blade of beef so big that I thought someone had topped and tailed a cow was easily pulled apart with my fork and spoke of long, low cooking.
The fat was all but gone, yet what did remain was tasty gelatinous loveliness.
Smooth champ, potato mash with spiky spring onions, cut through the richness of the meat, which was boosted by the ale jus. The only slight quibble was that there wasn’t quite enough of the sauce, but rather too little than too much.
A disc of pastry on top of the beef showed again 1906 care about texture as much as flavour, with carrots finishing off a dish perfect for an early autumn night.
After my Desperate-Dan main, I couldn’t manage a pud, but a lemon posset was too much for my mate to resist. Silky, wonderfully sweet yet equally as tangy, it was served with a tart raspberry coulis and pistachio biscotti – truly wonderful.
As the curtain fell on the evening, I realised that the quality of food and very reasonable prices of 1906 would lead to an inevitable, and welcome, encore.