I celebrated my 32nd (eeek) birthday last week, with dinner at Pollen Street Social. I'd heard good things from lots of friends who'd already been and loved it, but it far exceeded my expectations. It was truly wonderful - I can't recommend it enough.
The decor inside the restaurant is classy and understated. Unlike some fine dining places, it has an upmarket but laid-back feel - quite a feat. I felt completely comfortable and at home, but also as though I was in for a treat (which I was).
The service was fantastic - with at least four different waiting staff attending to us - including a really knowledgeable sommelier, who talked us into trying the cloudy Prosecco (which I stupidly forgot to record the name of). It was crisp and very dry, just how I like my wine.
We started our meal with some wonderfully chewy pork crackling - complete with an apple and mustard sauce, freshly baked bread and olives.
For my starter, I chose the hen's egg with parsley garlic puree, smoked haddock brandade, watercress and bacon. Every mouthful was packed with different flavours, which worked brilliantly together.
Meanwhile O had the fallow deer tartare, with smoked beetroot and berry pearls. This was definitely the standout dish of an evening of standout dishes, and I couldn't stop myself from poking my fork in to steal from it.
For my main, I went for Angus fillet with roasted salsify, which came with bone marrow pureed potatoes. The fillet was delicious and oh-so rich - it had the most amazing flavour but it was quite a big portion for little old me. I was really impressed with the sizes of the dishes in general. You certainly don't feel short-changed or leave feeling hungry.
O had salt marsh lamb, with black cabbage and a truffle puree. He smiled a lot while eating it. I'm not a big lamb eater but the forkful I tried was on a par with the lamb I'd overindulged in at The Cube.
Finally, I HAD to treat myself to pudding. Despite being pretty stuffed. After all, it was my birthday treat. Eschewing the chocolate-based desserts (which is most unlike me), I plumped for something more unusual: pear sorbet with apple in hibiscus. The apples were beautifully sharp and tangy, while the sorbet was incredibly sweet. It was just the thing to round off the meal, and was a picture to look at. My photograph doesn't do it justice at all!
I didn't want that pudding to end!
It wasn't a cheap experience - £160 for both of us, but we both agreed we didn't begrudge a single penny. I wouldn't hesitate to go back again for another special occasion. The staff were fantastic and the food was blow-your-mind brilliant. I'm already saving up for the tasting menu!