We were back at The Eclectic Collection at the weekend, a week after our lovely brunch there. On the face of it, The Eclectic Collection appears to be another great independent coffee (and tea) shop, so when we found out they were offering a 5 course taster menu for an evening, it got our attention. The menu looked interesting, priced at £25 with the various courses sounding as if they were trying for a fine dining angle, so we thought we’d give it a try. We enjoyed our previous trips to Sylvan Oak which was in the single restaurant unit closer to Burntwood Lane, but unfortunately that closed down at the start of the year, and there aren’t many other options for a bit more refined cuisine in our immediate area.
We had booked a table for 7pm and when we arrived we were seated in the conservatory area. There were a few other tables already in use, and a number of empty ones that had reserved signs on, indicating about 10 reservations for this test taster event. Having looked at the menu when we booked, we knew there were going to be some unusual and creative flavour combinations in some of the dishes. There was also the option of a matching wine (£2.80 for a 50ml tasting glass) or cocktail (£7-£8) for each course.
To get the evening started, we ordered a Pinkster Gin and Tonic and a tasting glass of the first wine, which was a Merlot from Chile, and eagerly awaited the arrival of our first course. We like gin, a lot, and the Pinkster Gin was served with a raspberry and a basil leaf. It was lovely, really smooth and refreshing. The wine was OK. Medium bodied, soft black berry fruits and easy drinking as you’d expect from a Merlot.
When our first course of goats cheese truffles with roasted walnuts, pickled beetroot and red grapes arrived it looked great. Served in a small glass dish with a closh, it really made an impact. One of us is not a fan of goat’s cheese and one of us loves it, however we both enjoyed the truffles. The cheese wasn’t overly chalky but soft and creamy, and the beetroot, roasted walnuts and grape went nicely with it. The wine taster, which was just about enough for the course, didn’t overpower any part of the dish and in fact went quite well with it.
The second course was cured smoked salmon, floral guacamole, purple truffle potatoes, yuzu pearls and lemon micro herbs. Again, it looked great on the plate and the flavour combinations worked well. The salmon was cut into small pieces but perhaps the amount of herbs was slightly overpowering for it. The guacamole was smooth and refreshing. There was a thin crispy pastry base on the bottom of the plate, which was unexpected and perhaps not really needed. The wine to accompany this course was another from Chile, a Vine Trail Viognier. Intentional or not, it was cold but not fridge chilled, and that allowed its flavours to be a bit more pronounced. It paired quite nicely with the food.
Following this came something we’ve not really had a lot of before…pastrami. It came with a blueberry compote, crushed meringue and pomegranate ketchup. Interesting. The pastrami was nice, and it went well with the blueberry and also the pomegranate, but we’re not sure that all 3 worked quite as harmoniously together though. The pomegranate was quite rich and the blueberry was sweet which clashed slightly. Still, an interesting idea.
Course number 4 was wonton ravioli filled with mushroom and aged black garlic with a black truffle sauce. When this arrived the distinctive earthy smell of the truffle smelt fantastic. This course was really good. The flavour combination was a bit more of a classic than some of the previous courses and we really enjoyed every mouthful. The sound of our cutlery scraping every last morsel out of the bowls was a testament to how much we’d enjoyed it. The only downside was that the parmesan crisp wasn’t as crisp as it could have been.
All that was left was dessert and this arrived with some theatre, hidden underneath a metal closh. When this was lifted it revealed a good sized slice of dark chocolate and raspberry parfait with beetroot meringue and coconut tuile. This was delicious. The texture was smooth and creamy and the balance of chocolate and raspberry worked well. I particularly enjoyed the coconut tuile and the beetroot meringue which both provided a bit of crunch.
After all that, we were quite full. We’d had an early table and by the time we left it was considerably busier. This had a bit of an impact on the speed of service, something that I think they’ll realise with the timing required between each course along with serving drinks, but that should be easy to resolve. Of course, service itself was very friendly.
We like this place. As mentioned in our review of their brunch, the décor really helps to create a sense of occasion and everyone is friendly and welcoming. It had a different atmosphere in the evening and the cocktail menu looks really good, so it would be somewhere to go and enjoy a drink or two. We also really admire the fact they’ve created something a bit unique to the area, and are offering something unexpected for, what is normally, a coffee and tea shop. We’re looking forward to seeing the next taster menu they offer.
We had a really nice evening and are really interested to see how The Eclectic Collection evolves over the coming months, and recommend that if you’re in Earlsfield you pop in and give it a try.