Charming, small, one-man band, are the words that spring to mind: in the kitchen there’s only him, Mr Bruce Sangster. We really mean only him – chopping away, prepping away, sizzling away … a lonely hero at the stove! He finds it more effort to look after the supposed help (‘these youngsters are frightened by the long hours’) than help himself. The amazing thing is not so much that he manages to run a kitchen alone, but that he does so at Michelin star level! (Coming from a private corporate cooking background no doubt helps with organisational skills).
Bruce is not only well-organised, but also clearly talented: while relatively simple his dishes always have some intriguing component, with sometimes quite daring and original combinations of flavours.
Among the highlights, the above scallops come with a pungent Thai sauce and (like all other produce we had on the evening ) are top quality.
And this Halibut was cooked just right, so different from out recent experience at Gauthier:
The shellfish jus was for licking!
But most of all we were ravished by this salmon, first marinated and then cooked at low temperature,
where the balance of layered flavours and textures was perfect: acidity from the crispy cauliflower, sweetness from the beetroot and the miso (a recurrent oriental theme).
This is a very logical, solid cuisine; everything in the plate has a function. None of those annoying embellishments in minuscule amounts that contribute zero to taste and that are so often encountered in fine dining places nowadays.
More often than not, it’s a one-woman band also in the front of house…very charming service, but be prepared for some waits while other tables are being entertained. Your turn will come…
A three course meal, inclusive of two amuse bouches and a pre-dessert sets you back just £40. As the short wine list is also very well priced, you are in for a treat at Sangster’s.