We don't eat out very often, mostly due to straightened financial circumstances and family responsibilities. However, my friend Amanda has been known to entice me out from time to time and, to celebrate my last day on a fundraising contract (I HATE fundraising), we went to Green Man and French Horn, a restaurant that we both remembered had fabulous reviews when it opened. Its sister restaurants Braun, Terroirs and Soif are nearby and also heavily influenced my local ToastED in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich. All good stuff.
We started with a bottle of sparkling Vouvray which was slightly off dry and very lovely and the perfect thing to drink as we caught up on the last couple of months and decided what we wanted to eat. This took rather a long time as we were tempted with so many great things but in the end we decided to go for five of the small plates, one of which we shared - we are both very territorial about food.
Details were good - great bread and butter happily replenished without asking. Still or sparkling free 'tap' water. Service throughout was great. But the food...that was divine. Crispily fried fresh anchovies with aioli disappeared within minutes - beautifully fishy and rustled on their paper. Asparagus with fromage blanc, bitter leaves and walnuts was the kind of salad that only the French seem to carry off with the combination of bitter, creaminess, nuttiness and the glorious flavour of asparagus all highlighted by beautiful olive oil and salt. Snails with parsley root and hedgehog mushrooms were declared to be the most tender ever encountered (I didn't indulge, not a huge snail fan). Leek, crab, egg and horseradish was an absolute triumph. A brown crab sauce with horseradish provided a base for gently poached leeks, all topped off with grated egg and white crab meat - simple, beautifully seasoned and a very generous plateful. We shared the chopped raw beef with radish and hedgehog mushrooms - true beefy flavour accentuated by the vegetables and dressing. We shared a 500ml carafe of some rather gorgeous very light red wine but the name escapes me - the waiter recommended it so I am sure he will recommend it to you.
The bill came to £118 for five dishes, a bottle of sparkling wine, a carafe of red, water and limitless bread. For the standard of cooking and the excellence of ingredients I call that great value.