I have realised recently that because I am both indecisive when looking at menus for the first time, and because I am a creature of habit set menus are my friend as they make ordering my breakfast, lunch or dinner so much easier! So, when the lovely team at Bill's, somewhere I have actually been trying to eat for a while, but has always been full (I've only just started booking tables in places I know will be busy), wanted to know if I wanted to come along and sample their current Christmas menu I jumped at the chance. And obviously, I had to drag one of my regular restaurant partners in crime Sherin along with me, too!
The set menu has a little bit of something for everyone, so I started off with the Chicken Liver Parfait. It was absolutely delicious, one of the best I've ever tasted, and as when it is on a menu it is my usual order, I've tasted a lot of them. I was particularly tickled by the simple yet clever presentation of it in a small jar. What looks like duck fat on the top of the pate, and usually is was actually butter. Very, very clever. Sherin went for the Creme Of Celeriac and Apple Soup. Now from the picture below it does not look very appetising (sorry about the lighting of these pictures, honestly they looked better on the camera screen so I did not bother to play around with the settings as much as I usually do), but I stuck my spoon in and it tasted delicious. What struck us at the beginning was how big the portions were for starters, I'd have been happy with just my starter and maybe sharing a dessert for my lunch (and I'd not had breakfast in anticipation for a big lunch), and they only got bigger.
For my main the steak happened. I now want to take my hat off to Bill's for cooking my steak just how I asked for it; rare. Usually it turns up medium rare, but here it was warmed through, but with a crisp, flavourful crust and a nice pink raw middle. Daddy? It you're reading this you're almost there with your steaks, but not quite. Alongside I had some nice dauphinoise potatoes, watercress, roast potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables, but to be perfectly honest I was already quite full so I just focused on the steak. I can tell you that the butternut squash pieces cooked in what I think was a honey and mustard glaze were fantastic, though. Sherin had the cod. It looked fantastic, cooked with its crispy skin and on a bed of savoy cabbage, roasted butternut squash and provençale sauce, and the bite I stole was delicious. Our mains really did make for the perfect, non roast joint or bird Sunday lunch.
Dessert, or what of it we could fit inside ourselves came for both of us in the form of the chocolate torte which was served with a hazelnut cream and my favourite part, a liberal sprinkling of honey roasted and slightly salted crushed hazelnuts. The torte was delicious and had a great texture, and the cream made a great Autumnal alternative to ice cream. The chocolate balanced very well with the end of the glass of the house (French) red I was drinking. I'm not used to reasonably priced (£3.95 a glass) house wines in London to be good, so this one is to be recommended as being not just drinkable, but house wine none the less, enjoyable. Once I became too full for actual food I was sure to finish off all the nut pieces, though. I think creating a recipe for them is something I'm going to have to work on.
The Christmas Menu at Bill's is £24.95 per person with a £5 deposit per person, and the steak has a £5 supplement added to it. The menu is available until Christmas Eve. Bill's have also put together some pretty fantastic looking hampers for the festive season if you're still looking around for gifts, and you can browse them and order on the Bill's website.