You know, I miss not being able to put on a bit of a show on a night out. It’s all relaxed décor and dressing down nowadays, even in upmarket establishments. Which makes a trip to Etc... rather special. It’s a taste of a bygone era that’s due a return to fashion. The look is sumptuous 1920’s Parisian decadence, with plenty of black and gold and majors on wow factor. Jeans won’t be frowned on, but the sense of glamour really does lend itself to dressing up, not down, which is delightful.
None of this would matter if the food and drink came up short. Thankfully, there’s a cracking, creative and often playful, menu (and short – always a sign of the freshest ingredients) courtesy of consultant award- winning chef Stephen Gomes and it’s executed with real flair. Dishes are fun, clever and very successful. Some are takes on classics – perhaps with unusual ingredients, or spectacular presentation – while others are completely original.
Everything put in front of us was scrumptious, but there were some particular stand-outs: the spectacularly presented Willy Wonka prawn cocktail with its rolling fog and inspired white chocolate take on a Marie Rose sauce; a sating, earthy ‘Forest of Dean’ wild mushroom patty that was bursting with flavour served with crispy kale in a ‘smoke’ filled bell jar; the best ever Glam sausage with fennel mash and rhubarb jam as the perfect foils; a petal adorned lamb shank tagine with a lovely depth of flavour that evolves slowly on the palette; whilst the mellow camel burger, a halfway house between chicken and beef, definitely deserves a mention. Desserts were mind- blowing/bending too – the lemon meringue brulee with lavender shortcake was a strangely successful mix of flavours.
All in all, a wonderfully exuberant and satisfying way to spend an evening.