Poor Mondays. They are the ugly sister of the working week; a time to hunker down and battle through.
Heads feel delicate, wallets light after the excesses of the weekend. No wonder many restaurateurs opt to close on this day.
Those who stay open often do their best to lure in trade – so actually Manic Mondays can be a great time try out restaurants and dodge the madness of weekend crowds.
Picture restaurant is where you are likely to find me shedding the last of Monday blues from now on.
The restaurant, which was founded in summer 2013 by three former members of restaurant group Arbutus and Wild Honey, is now offering free corkage on Mondays – a great excuse to crack open a decent bottle and drown your sorrows that the next weekend is four whole sleeps away.
Even better, the tasting menu is remarkable value at £35 for 5 courses. There is also a tasting menu for vegetarians (or those observing Meat Free Monday).
When I visited, we started with a velvety squash velouté spiked with cumin – soft, earthy and rounded flavours, soothing for a frazzled soul struggling to readjust to the working week.
The second course seemed to sense that we were perking up; creamy goats cheese curd and tender broccoli were cut with fruity plum tomatoes and piquant capers.
Crisp pork cheek with braised celery, apple, hazelnuts was expertly cooked.
A flaky fillet of sea bream on top of a light helping of lentils, fennel and diced turnip: juicy and pleasant.
The bavette was the star dish. A well judged portion arrived – more generous than the tiny morsels you often get with tasting menus, but not a huge slab to trample on the courses to follow. It was a beautiful example of this underrated cut with loosely packed meat fibres, a rich umami crust and a pink, yielding centre.
My only gripe about the dish was that the heavy handed use of cumin in both the jus and the carrot purée, which tasted very similar to the squash velouté we started with. A wider flavour spectrum throughout the tasting menu would have been more enjoyable.
After all that I was feeling rather like Mr Creosote and wondering how I could manage anything more than a “wafer thin” dessert, but the silky chocolate mousse with blackberries and peanut butter cream was not too heavy or sweet, just right.
See you there next Monday!
Picture, 110 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 6PQ
Telephone: 0207 637 7892
Open Monday – Saturday
I was invited to give an honest review as a guest of Picture restaurant