canapes and champagne at Texture
Lately, The Winesleuth has been getting around the London restaurant scene. Last week I could be found in the bar of Texture, a recent winner of a Michelin star (Jan 2010), Texture was founded by Xavier Rousset and Agnar Sverrisson. Xavier was awarded UK Sommelier of the Year at the tender age of 22 and met Agnar while they were both working at Le Manoir Aux Quar’ Saisons, the oldest double Michelin starred restaurant in England. Agnar hails from Reykjavic, Iceland and did his tour of duty in such places as Petrus and Le Manoir Aux Quar’ Saisons before joining up with Xavier to open Texture in 2007.
The unique selling point of Texture’s food is the fact that Agnar doesn’t use butter or cream in his cooking. He prefers to use vinegars and even eschews salt as much as possible. I asked him why he doesn’t use butter or cream and he most sensibly replied, “Because I don’t like them.” Fair enough. If his restaurant just won a Michelin star, who am I to contradict him? Agnar believes that he gets cleaner,fresher flavours without the addition of butter and cream. He’s going for purity of flavour, using vinegars as seasonings to get that fresh, clean taste. I asked him if Xavier ever complains about the use of vinegar and how it’s going to match with the wine. He laughingly replied that yes, they do sometimes have “discussions” about how the food is going to match with the wine.
I was there for a little champagne and canape event and the champagne was flowing. We were served with the Jacquesson Cuvee 732 Brut NV to go with the canapes and it was a lively companion. The Cuvee 732 while not a vintage champagne is made up primarily of wines from 2004 with the balance from coming from older vintages. A rich and complex drink, red apple, ginger and a bit of lemon showing through, it was served at just the right temperature and was a compelling partner to each dish, even the bacon flavoured popcorn was enhanced by the champagne. Other canapes we sampled were as follows: selection of parmesan, cod skin and potato crisps, Icelandic cod, Organic salmon gravalax, suckling pig spring roll and Greenland prawns, all bursting with those clean, fresh and pure flavours that Aggie had been speaking about earlier.
Looking at the wine list, it was very impressive. Texture bills itself as a Champagne bar first and foremost with 5 sparklers and champagnes by the glass and an incredible 88 available by the bottle. The champagne list even has a brief history of champagne as well as definitions of the various styles of champagne.
There was a delightful array of choices on the winelist and the prices were reasonable as well. Of course, one could spend hundreds of pounds for a top notch Burgundy or Bordeaux but there were also plenty of options in the £30-£60 range from all parts of the globe. It was nice to see such a reasonably priced wine list in a Mayfair restaurant. I also appreciated the fact that there was an extensive list of half bottles, for those who are perhaps dining alone or with a companion who doesn’t want to drink, although that wouldn’t be any of MY friends. One very nice touch to the winelist was at the top of each region, Xavier has stated the size and total production of each region. A little something for us wine anoraks. There is also a helpful glossary describing all the different types of dessert wines on the list and a short section on Madeira (!). It’s great to see a restaurant taking the time to do a bit of wine education for their customers.
Texture is going to be opening a wine workshop and kitchen soon called, 28-50 in Fetter Lane so watch this space. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s open.
Thanks to Sauce Comms and the gentlemen of Texture for inviting me to taste their delicious canape menu and partake of some fabulous champagne.