The lovely team behind Zomato, an online restaurant search and discovery service, kindly invited me to a tasting evening at the Villandry St. James’s. Set in a 1913 Edwardian Baroque building, the Villandry St. James’s is one of two Villandry venues in London with a third found in Bicester Village. All branches are open from breakfast through to dinner, providing an all singing all dancing Mediterranean affair.
The Villandry St. James’s boasts two private dining rooms for hire with an exclusive bar for their use. We spent the evening in the smaller room which comfortably seats 12 people. We were lucky enough to be presented with a private tasting menu with accompanying wines for each dish. Their in-house sommelier Monique Ziervogel joined us for the meal and talked us through each wine choice.
We started with an amuse bouche of Duck Confit with braised red cabbage, jus and haricots verts. The cold dish was a nice starting point as we finished off our glasses of bubbles before the wine journey began.
Next to the table was a portion of spiced squid served on slate, with a smear of Chef Eddie Perez’s special sauce. The first wine of the evening was a Gruner Veltliner, Loitmer 2013 which is an Austrian dry white wine. Please excuse my ignorance when noting the following wine pairings – there is no denying that I’m a “I’ll have your cheapest bottle please” kinda girl! That made the evening even more enjoyable though as I had the chance to learn something new. I also fell in love with two of the wines, so keep reading to find out more.
The tempura spiced squid was alright, unfortunately it was a tad on the chewy side so I’m not sure how fresh it actually was.
Things began to pick up when the next dish of gazpacho with heritage tomatoes arrived. Paired with a Manzanilla Sherry, according to Wikipedia manzanilla is a variety of fino sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain. In Spanish, chamomile tea is called “manzanilla”, which is where the wine gets the name because the wine’s flavour is said to be reminiscent of such tea. It tasted brilliant with the cold gazpacho, a delicious combination.
A beautifully creamy risotto followed, made with pea and ricotta and topped with a seared scallop. It was so good – very buttery and warming. Complimented with a cold glass of Louis Moreau Chablis, a dry white wine renowned for the purity of its aroma and taste.
A portion of pink lamb rump with summer vegetables provencales was paired with a glass of red Frappato, Cos 2013. Frappato is a red Italian light bodied wine with a distinct grapey aroma. I’ve never tried such a light red wine before and it was amazing, I need to get my hands on another bottle to share with family and friends.
We were presented with a palate cleanser or Trou Normande as the menu read. Trou Normand is the northern French tradition of a small drink of brandy, usually Calvados, between courses to settle the stomach and reawaken the palate. We enjoyed a pink sorbet and bubbles before a final savoury course and pudding.
The Sea Trout dish had to be my favourite. Placed on a bed of green beans and a red pepper sauce, the fish was light with a totally crispy skin, sprinkled with ground peppercorns everything worked well together. Paired with a 2009 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Gold-Quadrat Trocken which I thought was a lovely, lively wine.To finish, we enjoyed a pannecotta & berries paired with Moscato d’Asti, Michele Chiarlo Nivole 2014. The sparkling wine was by far my favourite as it was fresh, sweet and delicate with lots of apricots and flower flavours.
I very much enjoyed attending my first #ZomatoMeetup, you can follow my food journey on Zomato here. Thank you to the Villandry for hosting a wonderful evening.
ADDRESS: 12 Waterloo Pl, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4QN
OPENING HOURS: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sundays
CONTACT: 020 7930 3305