IT always feels daunting going to a Michelin-star restaurant. The fear is that dishes will be overwhelmingly complex, or the atmosphere stifled.
At Paul Kitching’s 21212, my trepidations were put at ease by friendly faces and homely decor.
Despite basing the Royal Terrace restaurant’s name on the concept of having a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts – with soup and cheese board interspersed – 21212 now boasts choices of three dishes for each course. I chose the comté cheese risotto to start, which blended pinenuts, beetroot and mustard mayonnaise seamlessly. My friend chose the Fancy A Smoke array of smoked fish with the unusual but surprisingly fitting addition of curried cream.
I was torn between the sweet corned beef fillet and baked summer Mediterranean pork for the main, but opted for the pork. The flavours of mint, macadamia nuts and cottage cheese salad made this the stand-out dish of the evening. My friend chose the beef which was well executed, with roasted onions and walnuts adding the perfect dimension, A self-confessed wine snob, my friend was keen to take advantage of the impressive sommelier, so we ploughed through the wine package, sampling a different drop with each course.
Although my palate for cheese is not adventurous, my friend is an avid lover and devoured the board almost single-handedly.
As with all fine-dining establishments, the portion sizes at 21212 are, thankfully, more than manageable. Although I was reaching my capacity by the end, I managed to squeeze in a little summer trifle before declaring myself defeated. We emerged hours later having had a thoroughly relaxing, intimate and unforgettable experience.