This was simply another fantastic visit to Caractere and where we felt on this occasion the quality of the food and service had risen to the next level. This time we took the short five minute walk from Westbourne Park train station to where we then arrived at the restaurant. Once inside and out of the rain we were given a delightful welcome from Beatrice and Romeo before being escorted to our table. Once seated we then got a little surprise as assistant manager Antonella had come in a bit earlier especially to see us. As we got comfortable we were treated to a complimentary glass of rose champagne to welcome us back which was a really nice touch. We were then given the menu where you had the choice of the Lunch Menu or our choice of the Tasting Menu that has two dishes in each section. During browsing at the menu we were given a fabulous little amuse bouche of a Mushroom & Parsley Tart along with the breadsticks. Then before the first course we had our first basket do sourdough bread and butter.
Mushroom & Parsley Tart
Sourdough Bread & Butter
Before moving on to the the food it was time to choose a bottle of wine to pair with the menu. The recommendation from sommelier Romeo was an absolute delight. The Paolo Scavino Sorriso 2018 with it’s pale yellow colour and bursting with flavours of sage , flowers & citrus fruits that was also very soft on the palate. This was a perfect pairing and also I felt was great value for money.
Paolo Scavino 2018 Sorriso
So now we begin with the first course and wow because these two dishes absolute amazing. The Ricotta & Wakame stuffed cannellone with prawn , moscardini & bisque in the opinion of my wife was delicious. My choice of the Buckwheat & Cepe Tartelette with kabocha pumpkin & veal sweetbread was delightfully rich and a flavour sensation.
The standard of the food didn’t drop with our next course as the Acquerello Risotto with trompette mushroom purée , fontina & marinated beetroot was beautiful. I had the pleasure this time of enjoying the amazing Celeriac Cacio e Pepe with extra aged balsamic vinegar. This is a dish where you only need to say one thing and that is it’s stunning.
Cacio e Pepe
We now moved on to the fish section where the choice was either the roast skate wing or the monkfish. After a chat with Antonella who said that the monkfish was here favourite dish on the menu we both decided that this would be our choice. I have to say how right she was as the Roasted Monkfish with fondant potato , grilled cabbage , herring roe & miso butter sauce was absolutely delicious.
If the flavours of the previous dishes wasn’t enough they were about to intensify with what was to follow. The Roast saddle & pulled shank of Herdwick Lamb with salsify & gremolata was amazing. The Grilled Pigeon with glazed turnips , liver farce , Laredo do colonnata , figs & jus is a dish I’ll remember for a long time and personally was the best pigeon dish I’ve ever eaten so definitely massive compliments to the chefs.
Now it was time for some cheese which was done differently this time as you were given a selection of four cheeses a goats , cornish yarg , tallegio & mild blue cheese along with the baby leaf salad , seed crackers & onion chutney.
Yes you’ve guessed correctly it’s time to finish with desserts and two absolute delights they were as well. The Molten chocolate tart with pecan praline , salted caramel & mascarpone ice cream is such a rich but heavenly dessert. The Blackberry Mille Feuille with diplomat cream & milk ice cream was just outstanding and one of the best desserts I’ve enjoyed this year. The mille feuille was paired with a fabulous sweet wine chosen perfectly by Romeo. The Coteaux du Layon was simply bursting with flavours of honey , quince & candied yellow fruits and was a great accompaniment to the dessert.
Molten Chocolate Tart
Blackberry Mille Feuille
Coteaux du Layon
We finished with tea , coffee & petit fours to bring to an end a truly memorable lunch. As I said at the beginning the quality of the food really has been taken to the next level. This along with the excellent service and fabulous wine means your not going to be surprised when I say that I would highly recommend a visit. Just before we left it was nice of chef/owner Diego to come and say hello and thank us for coming. To be honest I literally can’t wait to return as this restaurant is definitely one of my favourites.
I would like to thank Antonella & Beatrice for looking after us , to Romeo for the excellent wines & and of course to Diego and his team for the amazing food. All the best and look forward to seeing you all again soon.