I’ve been on Groupon’s mailing list for daily deals for a while but a half-price, five-course meal for two at Eau de Vie was the first one that looked enticing enough to buy.
Eau de Vie served a Groupon tasting menu, so there was no choice of dishes. Instead of disregarding us as culinary penny pinchers and dishing up the ‘cheap cuts’ as it were, which I've encountered at other discount dining events, we were served five beautifully presented courses with quality ingredients.
These included king crab with crispy fried prawns to start, a second starter of plaice with briny sea lavender, and an interim course of risotto with earthy truffle.
However, the standout courses came last. The main featured crumbly braised calf's cheek, rosé slices of Irish beef, pommes fondant and cream of Jerusalem artichoke.
Some diners on other restaurant review sites have complained that Eau de Vie’s Groupon dessert wasn't sweet enough, but that was exactly what made it work for me. Tart stewed rhubarb was topped with ice cream flavoured with razz cherries (dried cherries infused with raspberry juice), which made my mouth tingle. Accompanying them were little clusters of chewy meringues and lemon verbena foam.
I would have happily paid full price for any of the courses at Eau de Vie but would have preferred fewer of them. Our waiter had the dubious distinction of being attentive, efficient and arrogant all at the same time, but the kitchen was slow. Four hours in and we were just starting dessert.
The wait would have been easier to bear if we hadn't been sitting next to two women with the worst teeth I've seen in a Western country, one of whom boasted about working in the kitchen of 'Jonnie' (de Boer, chef of three Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije) yet seemed clueless about food and chain-smoked throughout the meal.
Like family, you can't choose your neighbours in a restaurant, especially when it's full. I'll avoid Friday night next time.
lunch Mon-Fri midday-14.30; Sun midday-15.30; dinner daily 18.00-22.00
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