Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider opened last week with a fresh look at the good ol’ tasting menu…
By letting diners formulate their own tasting menu.
Theres a definite juxtaposition running through this blog with our fondness for value for money heaped plates in some converted East London space versus casual but upmarket dining with petite portions ornately arranged for the price of a small bungalow up north. But if theres one constant theme amongst all our favourite places – it’s atmosphere and experience.
I dont care whether the food costs five pounds or fifty – if it makes me smile when it comes out then its half way to doing it’s job and if it makes me want to tell my friends to go visit then its wholly a great place to eat. Michael Riemenschneider’s new venture does exactly those two things.
The idea of Canvas is that you can take your pick of the extensive menu and build your own three course and upwards menu. We opted for seven courses unaware that portions differ depending on the number of courses – which is great, had we known! We expected small tasting dishes regardless of courses and predicted we would be hungry if we had any less than five. But very much on the contrary we were stuffed! We had to pass on the final dish because we were so full and it was getting late. The kitchen offered to send us off with a doggy bag which we didnt expect and loved. Canvas is definitely a place of pleasant surprises!
Very much a new fixture to Marylebone, Canvas will be tweaking their portion sizes accordingly as they find their feet and with an evolving menu consisting of five signature dishes mixed with eleven seasonal dishes there are many reasons to make many a return visit.
Plumping for the Classic flight, the sommelier paired some great wines with our meal from the very subtle coupling of an American dry Riesling with the sweetness of our scallop starter to the South African Chenin that complimented the white chocolate that accompanied the lobster perfectly. His thought out choices and explanations behind each pairing were brilliant and made for a great and personal experience.
The dessert that we did manage to make room for was the Apple ‘Strudel’; an amazing pastry creation with a hot AND cold filling. Again, the experience played a key part is this dish, the hot and cold take on the flavours of the apple were beautiful. Oh and i cant forget the gold egg yolk that accompanied the pigeon main course – its was an actual gold yolk. A fucking perfect little golden yolk!
Of course, only having just opened there were a couple of hiccups in service that i wouldnt even bother to mention if it were not for how well the staff handled them and how at ease they made all the diners feel. A hard task given how small the dining room (of which there are 2) is, with only 20 covers in total. But where the room seemed intimidatingly intimate to start with, it soon warmed up and felt quite special and, dare i say, communal.