Last year, I got information about a dining event called the Gourmet Odyssey that was occurring during the London Restaurant Festival. The concept is that you start at a venue for drinks, then go to another restaurant for your starter, a second restaurant for your main and a final restaurant for dessert. At each location, there is a different Laurent-Perrier champagne to drink with your food. Last year, the restaurants were in the Soho/Fitzrovia area, and we had such a great time, I picked up tickets for another one occurring this year.
This year, the odyssey I chose had locations in Shoreditch. It looked the best of the three, with one location being at The Clove Club which we had dined at earlier this year. It was so good, I was willing to go back again. The champagne reception was at The Ace Hotel. There is a bar on the seventh floor that had a balcony overlooking “beautiful” Shoreditch. The non-vintage Brut champagne here was quite free-flowing (as it was at all the locations), and we had a great time sipping the champagne and watching the other people who chose to spend their day with us. We got split into three groups, so we could round-robin the restaurants.
From what I saw, we definitely ended up with the best route. Of the three starters (a pheasant dumpling with truffle and chestnut, tuna ceviche and prawns with chili and yogurt), ours was the one that looked the best: The dumpling. We hopped on a bus and headed to The Clove Club to have our first course. Since I had been here before, I new what to expect. And they had us seating in communal dining tables. Unfortunately, I ended up sitting next to some people that thought a bit highly of themselves, and ended up talking with both Tom and the people on the other end of the table more. The bread: delicious. The dumpling: Fantastic! I mopped up as much sauce as I could with the bread while enjoying more Laurent-Perrier champagne (this time the non-vintage Ultra Brut). Upon leaving, I chatted with the chef, who remembered me from the last time we came, and mentioned the review I made of his restaurant and the story about my mother telling me about the restaurant. That was a nice surprise.
We got back on the bus and after a massively long detour that had too many closed roads and directions from everyone on the bus that wasn’t the bus driver, we finally made it to the second location: Merchants Tavern. This venue is absolutely gorgeous with an amazing open kitchen and a great bar area. Here we had the 2004 vintage Brut champagne with a main course of venison with cabbage. The venison was cooked amazingly and everything on the plate went really well together. There was a deliciously rich ragu that they put over the venison as well. My favorite part was the juniper berry crumb. I liked it so much, I even asked the server how the venison was prepared, and she went to ask the chef. After this course, I was ready to come back here to try the full dining experience.
Our last stop was 8 Hoxton Square. This time we opted to walk because the venue was incredibly close, and we didn’t want to get stuck in endless loops on the bus. That worked out okay for us because they gave us a bit of champagne while we were waiting, so we got a bit more than some of the other people. It was also our favorite Laurent-Perrier variety: The Rose Cuvee. Dessert was a rich, chocolate torte with amaretti biscuits and vanilla cream. It was the perfect ending to the meal. You can never go wrong with chocolate. The venue itself is really laid back and has that hipster decoration vibe, but I’m kind of used to that now from Shoreditch restaurants so it wasn’t really off-putting.
All in all, even though we often got seated with people we weren’t completely fond of, we had an amazing time and had some amazing food and drink. It’ll definitely be on my list to do again during the restaurant festival next year.