A spur of the moment decision led us to make a reservation at Koffman's at The Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge for some fine and fancy French cuisine.
So for my first experience of fine dining at a French restaurant, Koffman's was a pretty good choice - namesake restaurant of French Chef Pierre Koffman. He used to run a 3 Michelin star restaurant called La Tante Claire where all the big British names - Marcus Wareing, Gordon Ramsay, and Macro Pierre White worked under him.
Initially we planned to try their 3 course offer for £32 pounds. which is an amazing deal given how pricey the A La Carte menu is. But once we read the menu, all thoughts of being thrifty flew out and we had to try all the legendary Koffman classics. I'm not going to lie - it was a very expensive meal despite our best initial intentions. But it was so worth it - along with the food being fantastic, the service was impeccable. The the waiters were lovely and attentive - we had a wine sommelier who matched a light red Beaujolais wine to our meal perfectly.
One of my friends is a vegetarian and I figured he would get a rough deal walking into a French restaurant that's not particularly known for being vegetarian-friendly. However, they were accommodating and served him the most fabulous dishes like a mushroom risotto: little plump mushrooms in light creamy risotto surrounded by pea foam and he also enjoyed his starter of an asparagus & goats' cheese flan. Both of which I couldn't resist trying!
|Asparagus & Goats Cheese Flan|
For the carnivores, our first dish was squid served Bolognese-style. At first glance, you think you have a plate of tiny spaghetti in front of you but then you realize the 'spaghetti' is actually delicate strands of squid acting as the pasta to a robust pork ragu sauce - a clever little play on an Italian classic.
Our next dish was the Escargots with wild mushrooms and parsley. This came in a little pot filled with light potato puree and the tender snails were texturally perfect and tasty. One of my favourite dishes of the night.
|Escargot with mushrooms and parsley|
And then came the legendary Pig's trotters stuffed with sweetbreads and morel mushrooms - made famous at La Tante Claire. We split this between the two of us - so yes I ended up with one little piggy's foot. I'll be honest, I was bit apprehensive of this whole eating a pig's foot business - but oh my, they tasted so good in a every earthy, meaty way!
The star of the night was the dessert. We were utterly full and satisfied but then from a distance I saw another table order the famous Pistachio Souffle and I knew we had to order it. It's the biggest souffle I've seen, puffed out beautifully and the moment you dig in your spoon and get a taste - you can't stop. Warm fluffy, of pistachio souffle with melting ice-cream in the centre and a dusting of molten burnt chocolate powder. Sheer genius!
I'm not sure if I've done the meal justice with this review. There were so many little details about the dining experience that I enjoyed - like the complimentary candy bag of meringues and marshmallows you could leave with. It's really left me with a curiosity to experience more of French cuisine - a desire my wallet perhaps can not support!
For a lovely way to treat yourself and have a special (rather expensive) night out, Koffman's certainly delivers a lovely dining experience.
Koffman's at The Berkeley
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge London SW1X 7RL
Tel: 020 7235 6000
Tube: Hyde Park Corner