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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Paramount Restaurant, Centre Point

A year or so ago I was taken to Centre Point's bar for a cocktail and a glimpse of the awesome elevated views, 33 floors up in the sky. It is a bar every Londoner should visit once. This time I returned the favour by taking the same person as my guest to try out the luxurious restaurant in this grand tower, Paramount, located on Floor 32. We were kindly escorted to the lift and told that we would arrive at level 32 automatically, we didn’t and instead hovered between floors 27 and 30 - the begrudging lift seemed unable to take us the whole way, and we had to walk.

The restaurant area was deadly silent, the type of place where a sneeze sounds like an earthquake, only a few formal lunches were taking place. We were seated on a lovely table next to a staggering view, much of the meal I was distracted by the dizzying height, amazed to be looking down at such insignificant dots of people and the tiny red blurs of buses. The chaos of Oxford Street feels like a distant memory, in Paramount you are blissfully unaware and removed from the mayhem. The waiters were polite and responsive, leaving us for just the right amount of time to settle down and survey the menu before bringing us the wine and bread. Paramount offer a set lunch menu (£18.50 for 2 courses, or £23.50 for 3 courses) and though we didn’t opt for this selection, it is definitely something I would recommend as a cheaper, good value alternative.

The food was immaculately presented, smart and appetising, almost too pretty to delve into. We were both drawn to the Sweet Potato, Sage & Parmesan Tortellini with Chorizo Cream Emulsion for a starter, but not wanting to duplicate, my companion decided on the Slow Cooked Mutton with Autumn Vegetables & Split Pea Broth. I was delighted when the hot plates arrived, the portion was petite and delicate, everything always tastes better when there is less of it and my tortellini was divine: soft pasta parcels with a sweet soft filling and contrasting crunchy salty fried pieces of chorizo and deliciously thin and crispy sage leaves. The broth looked hearty and wholesome, vegetables and meat in a soothing soup.

The list of mains was extensive and tempting with many meat and fish choices. My Roast Venison Loin was rich and delicious, with a flavoursome Braised Red Cabbage & Liquorice sauce trickled over, an unconventional combination which balanced out perfectly - the sauce complementing the red meat. My friend chose the Sirloin of Scottish Beef with Goose Fat Chips & Peppercorn, a more classic meal that was displayed beautifully with rocket, tomato and mushrooms. It was a generous portion, a very tender piece of meat lightly grilled with a pretty in pink interior. In my opinion the chips were a little too big and consequently tasted a little undercooked.

The afternoon began passing us by and it was time for pudding. Lemon Mille Feuille with Lemon Polenta Cake & Lemon Verbena Sorbet for me and Vanilla Crème Brulee with Red Wine Jam for him. Mine was an exquisite composition on the plate, like an exemplary offering in a Masterchef final challenge, every element delicately arranged to create a work of art. Dismantling it was all rather sad, particularly crushing the light layering of the Mille Feuille. The flavours were intense - tangy sharp lemon, cubes of crumbly polenta cake and sweet raspberry yoghurt cream filling. The Crème Brulee was creamy and silky with a deep purple red wine jam peeking through at the bottom of the dish, and crunchy biscuits, it was just as this typical French dessert should be but with a unique twist. Cappuccinos completed the meal.

A mist began to descend on the London skyline and darkness fell, a candle was placed on our table, perhaps a sign to leave from our lunch booking, three hours had drifted by without noticing.

Paramount presents stylish and very appealing food, fine dining which is smart but unpretentious. Along with the amazing bar this is the ideal venue for a special treat meal. We had a lovely lunch and afternoon eating and reminiscing at the top of the Centre Point Tower.

Visit Paramount, Centre Point website here.

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