FOOD REVIEW: It's not any old three-course meal, it is 27 steps to heaven
Tucked just off the seafront street in Southsea is what can only be described as a portal across the channel without having to hop on the ferry.
Restaurant 27 is perhaps unassuming from the outside and you might well miss it if you are taking a stroll along the parade, but upon entering you are transported to a high-endÂ modern French establishment.Â Â
My mother and I are seated at the bar and offered a variety of wines and gin (they have sized us up well) although due to one of us driving and other having had plenty of beverages the night before, we settled for their very nice non-alcoholic cocktails.Â
As we peruseÂ the twoÂ menus, Sunday lunch or tasting (Â£45 for seven courses), we are treated to a selection of canapes including goats cheese with Parma crisps and a cheddar cookie topped with a black garlic gel.
We both optÂ for the Sunday lunch (Â£32 for three courses) although it doesn't soundÂ like a normal roast.Â
Once seated at our table we are presented with a hot shot glass called beans under toast.
A play on the classic we all know and love but elevated way beyond eating it in your pyjamas in front of the television on a Saturday morning.Â Â Â
For starters I choose the chicken pie with truffle sauce while mum opts for smoked var salmon, fennel bread and lemon gel.
Initial worries of the pie being too heavy for a starterÂ quickly disappear as the flaky pastry ball of goodness is placed in front of me partnered with aÂ rich truffle sauce.
Lemon, salmon and fennel are the perfect flavour combination, according my mother.
As soon as the plates are cleared we continueÂ our culinary journey.
For main I have umami glazed duck which looks so pretty on the plate with the French splatter-style sauce '“Â I almost don't want to eat it... almost. But the crispy skin and soft meat is a delight.
Mother opts for lamb and is equally taken aback with its appearance.Â
The service is second-to-none, and the staff know the exact provenance ofÂ what they are putting in front of you.
When it comes to dessert we are offered two options, sweet or cheeses, with the waitress keeping the details of pudding firmly under wraps.
We wait with anticipation.
The door to the kitchen opens.
And out comes a marble board shrouded in raspberry-flavoured liquid nitrogen, and then the smoke clears to reveal three exquisite mini desserts each.
Fennel ice cream with a pistachio granola, a cinnamon doughnut with a vanilla gelÂ and a white chocolate soil, and a poppy seed meringue with dehydrated chocolate, fresh raspberries and a raspberry gel.Â
The ice cream was fresh-tasting and the pistachios added a great crunch. AÂ doughnut is perhaps not the sort of dessert you would associate with modern French cuisine, but Raymond Blanc shouldÂ listen up, because it works.Â
Chocolate and raspberries areÂ a combination you can't go wrong with, like many of their dishes, it's a classic tasteÂ with a twist.
At the end of the meal when the waitress asks my favourite dish I simply can'tÂ chooseÂ '“from start to finish, everything was amazing.
Owners Kevin and Sophie Bingham have managed to take a simple three course meal and turn it into an experience.Â
With only three options for starters and main and a surprise for dessert, Restaurant 27 is a prime example of doing something simple and doing it well.Â
To see more images, go toÂ www.portsmouth.co.uk/image-gallery/in-pictures-restaurant-27-southsea-dish-detective-1-8509998/8509999
Restaurant 27, South Parade, Southsea
Ratings (out of five)