Entrée, is described by the trusted Wikipedia as a dish served before the main course. This is interesting, are Entrée saying that their starters are the centre feature? I hope so because I'm a sucker for a table full of them before my main course.
The restaurant has been awarded a two AA Rosetta award and opened in 2011, since then it has had some good press. Jay Rayner said the Pork belly was ‘so good’ and ‘Arancini (Risotto Balls) were as good an example as you’ll find this side of Milan’, so as expected, I had high hopes, especially for the pork belly. Sorry but I succumb to the offering of crispy crackling on a menu every time.
The service at Entrée was somewhat interesting; at times, it was lovely and attentive and at others it as impossible to grab the attention of any staff. Once seated after precariously hanging around the entrance it took another 10 minutes for a drinks order to be taken and then another ten minutes for the drinks to arrive at the table, there were only two members of floor staff on a surprisingly busy Wednesday night.
The first starter to arrive was the Pork rillettes with apple jelly, cornichons, petite salad & seared bread. This was pleasant enough and the apple jelly was well executed, but the dish was as I said, only ‘pleasant enough’.
Again the Fish cakes with caviar, mixed leaf salad & crab dressing were nice, but were nothing to shout about, I hate to say this but I’ve had fish cakes from the supermarket which were on the same level, although they didn’t carry the topping of caviar. Using the restaurant title Entrée, is certainly not living up to its name so far.
The mains were in two different leagues. The Ox cheek with kafir lime, bok choi, honey-glazed carrots and new potatoes was an interesting mix. The kafir lime was non-existent on the palate; the bok choi was just ‘ok’ but the cheek were cooked-to-perfection! It literally fell apart when trying the put the fork into it, then melted in in my mouth, quite literally. We ordered a side of Thrice cooked chips which were very nice.
The Old spot pork belly with sweet potato, butternut squash and chargrilled peach salsa made for an interesting mix. The sweet potato and butternut squash were both nice with the pork but needed extra seasoning and the cold peach salsa didn’t go terribly well with the pork, but was delicious and fresh in its own right. However, the pork, what a stunner, it was one of the best pieces and well-cooked portions of pork belly I have ever had. The glaze was lovely and sweet, slightly sticky and beautifully crisp, with no airy ruptures or overly salted. If you go here, order the pork belly, you will not be disappointed.
Lemon Posset for dessert, which is a relatively simple recipe, was just delicious, complemented by some homemade shortbread (which need a bit more butter) and an oddly spiced rhubarb compote. I had asked what had been added to the Compote and the waitress said ‘a lot’, a lot of spices were added, clove and cinnamon to name a few, which were too much for the Rhubarb to carry off. I did enjoy the Posset very much though and could have eaten a second helping.
Overall Entrée seems to use high quality ingredients but try too hard in making their dishes stand out by adding too many ingredients, which frankly can be delicious with just simple but well executed accompaniments and good quality sourced ingredients. This place is a great local restaurant if you live in the area, but it is not cheap. I would certainly travel here across London though, if only for the Pork Belly.