Match of the week
Champagne and pigs tails
Champagne, we all know, goes with practically everything but PIG TAILS? Surely not.
Well yes, if they’re in the capable hands of chef Rob Roy Cameron of Gazelle in Mayfair who hammers them out into fine crispy shards and partners them with Jerusalem artichokes (another champagne-loving ingredient) and a Manhattan jus. Fried things, as I’ve said before, go exceptionally well with bubbles - in fact I’m hard pushed to think of a still wine that would have partnered this clever dish better.
Two other matches among the small plates we sampled stood out with the champagne - (a rich, Benoit Lahaye Brut Nature): a dish of mushrooms with pine nuts and wild garlic (well, mushrooms flatter everything) and another umami-rich dish of squid with sandalwood cured jowl and girolles (yes, more mushrooms but the dish was more about the pork)
The pairing was the more surprising given that the restaurant heavily features cocktails devised by leading mixologist and co-owner Tony Conigliaro so I was expecting to drink them through the meal too but the negroni I ordered, while delicious, was just a bit too strong and sweet for the delicate flavours of the food.
We did however try one of the cocktail pairings in the bar upstairs: a Serafin (tequila, pear shrub, pear liqueur and ginger beer) which was perfect with a delicate crisp corn tostada and a champagne cocktail - the Twinkle, I think - with Grapefruit Goldy (whatever that is), citrus and champagne with what looked like an ice-cream wafer, but turned out to be frozen yeast and taste like frozen parmesan. (Cameron used to work for El Bulli.) Quite gorgeous.
I guess the champagne would have gone pretty well with that too.
I ate at Gazelle as a guest of the restaurant.
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