The Glasshouse, Kew, with Patricio Middleton of MontGras
Got a text this morning from Ben Smith of Enotria, reminding me of today's lunch date with him and Patricio Middleton (MD of Chilean operation MontGras). In the chaos of holiday season I'd clean forgotten about it, but it was a nice surprise to find myself with the prospect of lunch at The Glasshouse (http://www.glasshouserestaurant.co.uk/) in Kew.
Patricio (above) is a very smart guy, but he's also delightful company. His interests extend beyond wine: he's over here to compete in the Fastnet sailing race that takes place shortly. This makes him a pretty hardcore sailor. MontGras have an interesting strategy: rather than build the MontGras brand, their approach has been to build a portfolio of brands from around Chile. The roster includes MontGras, Ninquen, Intriga and Amaral. Of the wines we tried, the Amaral Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Leyda really impressed, with their aromatic intensity and freshness. With Patricio at the helm (sorry!), this is a winery that we should be watching.
This was my first trip to The Glasshouse, and I was really impressed. It had a laid back feel to it, yet it delivered a high-end dining experience. I had the two signature dishes. For the starter, the warm salad of wood pigeon with balsamic vinegar and deep fried truffled egg (above), which was just beautifully executed and also quite substantial. The wood pigeon was perfectly done.
Then, for the main, a remarkably presented assiette of pork with apple tarte fine, choucroute and madeira jus. This was topped off with a slice of fried pancetta, and included a wedge of black pudding as well as a chunk of sausage, sitting on a sort of sauerkraut base. This wasn't quite in the same league as the wood pigeon salad (the flavours didn't complement each other as well), but it was still lovely.
I want to go there again, soon. I reckon it's probably the nearest high-end restaurant to my home, too. (Actually, it's probably equidistant to Chiswick's La Trompette. Both are brilliant.)