Texture is a Michelin starred Icelandic restaurant just behind Marble Arch. I had been wanting to visit for a while and the occasion came in the form of an invite to lunch from Nespresso, with the caveat that we would be challenged 'to find out what's missing'.
Unfortunately I arrived late (for once I was using public transport and massively overestimated TFL capabilities) and missed something already: the welcome drink!
The menu prepared for us, in the private dining room, was a 3 course menu, with a choice of vegetarian or fish course; beautiful flat breads and crispy fish skins laid out with dips and olive oil while we placed our orders.
The appetiser was a very light pumpkin soup, with saltiness found in seaweed powder and olive oil drizzled on top, while texture was given by small nutty crumbs. My starter of choice was a colourful New Season Colchester Bay Beetroots with goat's milk, pistachio and herbs. I love beetroot and really enjoyed this dish, matching the eating to a chat about how to grow beetroot in my small city garden with my fellow diners.
Most of us it seems, opted for Icelandic Lightly salted cod, prawns, barley and grapefruit. Another delicate dish, the grapefruit providing a subtle yet strong tartness, perfect to break up the dense yet deliciously creamy barley.
We were served a refreshing, tiny and delicious predessert of herby granita, but we were still quite clueless as to what was 'missing'. We ploughed on and Skyr arrived. I had skyr in Rekjiavik and loved it, of course this was a more refined yet just as pleasant version, with different textures of the icelandic milky dessert: ice cream, mousse and more textures found in the crumbs and the tuile. Still kind of clueless.
We then were offered a choice of Nespresso by Jonathon (Head of Coffee). I picked the more intense, Italian style espresso cru. Great ending to such a fab meal. Still clueless though!?
At this point Chef Agnar Sverrisson came to see us and introduced himself and the food and finally... gave us some initial clues... from the pumpkin soup to the skyr... no cream nor butter are used in Texture's food (music to my fitness focused ears, by the way). Those were the elements missing from the food, without affecting the taste nor the consistency (the soup was as creamy as it could have been with cream). Indeed, everything I had was extremely good, delicate throughout with deep flavours and textures (of course).
Jonathon then challenged us - what was missing from the coffee we had drunk?
And one of us finally got it... caffeine! that is what was missing - we had all been drinking decaffeinated crus, much to our surprise.
The coffee experts at Nespresso took the three most popular Grands Crus - one each from the Intenso, Espresso and Lungo ranges and created decaffeinated mirror images. The new coffees have been especially created to match the exceptional character and aroma of their original Grand Cru alter egos.
I had in fact tried the Arpeggio Decaffeinato. When offered its original, caffeinated version, I thought the decaffeinato was possibly even better, smoother and more rounded! Its intensity is 9, with strong character, intense body and indulgent cocoa notes. The other crus are Volluto Decaffeinato and Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato (intensity 4 for both).
Having recently started limiting (or trying to) my caffeine shots to two per day, decaff is an option I am now asking for in coffee shops and often leave disappointed, having to add sugar and milk to a single espresso. I particularly enjoyed the Arpeggio Decaffeinato, drank it absolutely straight, and I am looking forward to trying the other decaff crus.
The new decaffeinated range will be available in January 2015 and will be priced at £0.31 for the Espresso and £0.32 for the Lungo. The coffee will be available from Nespresso boutiques, via the Nespresso Customer Care Centre and online at www.nespresso.com
I was a guest of Nespresso UK. Opinions are my own; I was not asked to write about the experience.
Sustainable? Sadly, I doubt it. I asked if the scallops (starter) were hand dived and the answer was no.