Thursday, March 23, 2006

San Bas, Westerham

San Bas,
1 Market Square,

San Bas is the new name for San Basilio, an Italian restaurant in Westerham, so the menu informed us. The restaurant itself is on the main road through Westerham on the A25 and is very well presented both inside and out.

Lats night we visited for our wedding anniversary. The front part of the restaurant was taken up with a rather good jazz trio who kept us entertained throughout the evening with a nice selection of songs from the likes of Nina Simone.

I started with a goats cheese crottin served with various bits of salad and a honey dressing. It was quite nice, however there wasn't quite enough dressing to take the dry edge off of the cheese, so by the end of the dish it was quite difficult to finish - it reminded me of one of those cream-cracker eating competitions where your mouth completely dries up leaving you unable to swallow. In contrast my wife had a twice-baked applewood cheese souffle with tomato compote that was stunning. I only had a mouthful, but I really wish I'd ordered that. The souffle was lovely and the compote had a gourgeous smoky flavour that complemented the applewood perfectly.

For the main course I ordered a cep gnocchi with shaved truffle. I say 'ordered' because the gnocci dish that turned up didn't appear to have any ceps in it whatsoever, but did have rather a lot of artichokes. I was a bit miffed about the lack of ceps - those of you who have read other reviews here will know of my love of funghi - but the dish was very tasty (and I do like artichokes) so I decided not to make a fuss.

The dish it was served in was like a square dessert bowl, and it was full to the brim with the gnocchi. I managed to make my way through about two thirds of the dish before giving up, mostly through being full but partly through boredom. That's not really being unkind it's just that I felt the dish would have better if it had been served on a flat plate with half the amount. My wife had a chicken dish which, she said, was very nice indeed.

The dessert menu had a creme brulee on so, following Gaz's Dessert Rules, there was only the one choice. And it started so well. The top was a nice colour, crispy and not too thick and the custard was smooth, and very tasty. No vanilla seeds, which was a shame - I always prefer it when vanilla pods are used. However, after a couple of spoonfuls I notice a hard substance at the bottom of the ramekin. I'm not sure what it was - it had a very strong taste of vanilla, so maybe something had separated out of the custard somehow during cooking. Whatever, it prevents this particular brulee from rising above a six on the scale, whereas it could've been on for somewhere around an eight.

Still, even with these reservations, it was an enjoyable evening; the service was great, the food tasty and the jazz band really created a nice atmosphere.

No comments: