Apologies for the recent lack of posts! It’s a strange irony when you eat out so much that you don’t even have time to write about it. I should also warn you all about the shocking quality of photos in this post. I really need to get a proper camera…
Now I’ve never been a fan of the Southbank scene; I’ve always found things a little lacklustre and overpriced. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this place. My experience however was a pleasant surprise.
We began with oysters, clean and refreshing with cucumber granita. This was followed by prawn skewers with some sort of mayo/aioli dipping sauce. The prawns were amazing, covered in some kind of salty, garlicky salsa and cooked to perfection. As Matt Preston would say ay, they ‘popped’. To round out the appetisers there were these crumbed, fried pork things (how eloquent of me). The pork was shredded, tender and juicy, and it makes me really wish I knew what it was!
When it came to the mains, there was a fairly limited selection of only about five dishes. The vast majority of my dining party ordered the eye fillet, which was tempting. However, I decided against it as it was served with parsnips. Seriously, who actually likes parsnips??
Anyway, I went for the duck breast with rillettes and red onion tarte tatin as it’s not often that I get the opportunity to eat duck. It was definitely a winning choice. The duck was juicy and rich, pairing well with the salt-like spice powder scattered across the plate. The sweetness of the onion rounded it out perfectly. The creamy, salty rillettes provided a nice contrast, allowing me to rediscover the amazing flavours of each element of the dish as I alternated between them. I thought the tarte tatin was a little redundant though; there was so little pastry that it really added nothing to the dish. Caramelised onion on its own would have been sufficient.
Selecting one of the dessert options was a challenge. Berry mille-feuilles, or chocolate fondant? I ended up with the banana parfait, which consisted of semi-frozen banana, caramel sauce, meringue and hazelnut praline crumble. It wasn’t too bad, but I couldn’t help but be a bit jealous when one of my fellow diners received his creme brulee and discovered that it came with three small jam bomboloni (before you Google that, I’ll tell you now that it’s a doughnut). The parfait could have done without the meringues, which provided little more than visual interest. The crushed hazelnut mixture was already there for for crunch; perhaps the meringues should have been softer and more pav-like. They were also a bit stingy with the caramel sauce…
I have to say though, The Deck greatly exceeded my expectations overall. You know they’ve done well when my only serious complaint is that they didn’t have any pear ciders. Highly recommended, unless you’re a vegetarian.The Deck Upper Level U1/2 Southgate