Gourmet dishes meet with whimsy in Britannia‘s creative restaurant, The Epicurean.
The venue promises an “extraordinary gastronomic journey to the very heart of fine dining”, and the ambience is perfect for a romantic meal for two or a small gathering of close friends.
P&O Cruises’ The Epicurean is a sophisticated contemporary restaurant. You will want to dress up for dinner here.
The menu contains a myriad of choices, too many to try at once. Never has the need for a tasting platter been greater.
The menu on the night was as follows:
- Jamón Pata Negra Ibérico de Bellota
- Smoked Apple Wood Infused Duck Liver Parfait
- Salt and pepper Oyster and Jumbo Prawn Tempura
- Buttered Green and White Asparagus
- Tomato Tastings
- Wild Mushroom and Champagne Velouté
- Whole Dover Sole à la Meunière
- 28 Day Dry Aged Beef Sirloin
- Duo of Duck Specialities
- Loin of Wild Boar with a Smoked Pork Cheek Croquette and Lancashire Black Pudding
- Herb Roasted Poulet de Bresse
- Fondue of Whipped Brie With Hibiscus and Sun-dried Cranberry Tisane
- Crème Brûlée and White Chocolate Sphere
- Baked Rice Pudding Arancini with a melting Maple Syrup centre and Almond Crumb
- Lime Leaf Panna Cotta and Coconut Butter Milk Foam
- Elements of Summer Trifle
- Glazed Banana with a Caribbean Demerara Rum Tot
- Selection of Artisan British and European Cheese
Orders placed, I sat back as three varieties of artisan bread appeared, closely followed by a rolled slice of salted pork fat, not too dissimilar to the Ukrainian delicacy Salo. A refreshing iced strawberry lollipop palette cleanser then arrived.
The fat understandably had a very meaty flavour, with a texture akin to that of cured ham. The lollipop was reminiscent of a Strawberry Split ice lolly.
My starter, Buttered Green and White Asparagus, appeared soon after.
Flanked by a coddled egg and a deep-fried egg, tender stalks of asparagus sat beneath bacon, ham, and pancetta accompaniments together with a Parmesan crisp.
Across the table, a glass cloche lifted to reveal Smoked Apple Wood Infused Duck Liver Parfait. The generous serving of duck liver parfait sat atop an apple and fig jam alongside caramelised black figs and two slices of gingerbread toast.
Expect to spend much of your time in the restaurant peering at everyone else’s dishes and their theatrical elements. Keep an eye out for the roving trolley brandishing a leg of Ibérico ham too.
For main course, I chose the Loin of Wild Boar with a Smoked Pork Cheek Croquette and Lancashire Black Pudding, served upon a wavy pattern of beetroot and blackberry cabbage sauce. A vanilla charred pear offered sweetness to contrast the flavoursome meats. An elegant stack of boulangère potatoes, with many leaves of micro cut potato, also helped to balance the dish.
Across the table arrived the generously-sized Duo of Duck Specialities. Pan seared duck breast was the main centrepiece. An oriental confit duck leg spring rolls at on seared melon and a parsnip purée. A sour cherry jus added a tartness to balance the rich duck meat.
Before dessert, there was time for another flight of whimsy, this time with a strawberry ‘lipstick’ for the ladies and a mango and coconut ‘fried egg’ for the gents.
By the time I reached dessert, I barely had room thanks to the generous portion sizes. There is no denying that a meal in the Epicurean restaurant is superb value for money.
After a tough choice between equally tempting dishes, I settled for Crème Brûlée and White Chocolate Sphere.
My waitress prepared the dish table-side, caramelising the sugar, painting raspberry sauce onto the plate, crisscrossing a sticky chocolate sauce, and topping it off with crushed meringue. A delicate white chocolate sphere completed the dessert.
A semi-forceful thud of a heavy spoon cracked open the sphere. In destroying the beauty, I revealed its inner secrets of raspberry pearls, meringue, and caramelised popcorn.
Naturally, this was a very sweet dessert but perfect for fellow chocolate lovers.
My meal at The Epicurean aboard Britannia was one of my most enjoyable experiences, on land and at sea. Crisp, clean flavours were perfectly balanced, and each dish was a work of art.
The service was exceptional, and the portion sizes were very generous. The cover charge – £30 a head on mini cruises or £28 a head on cruises of three nights or longer – represents excellent value for money.
Together with the theatrics and whimsical twists, dinner became one of the best shows I will ever experience.
Follow in my footsteps
The Epicurean experience can be found on family-friendly ships Britannia, Azura, and Ventura. On Azura, and Ventura, the menu is offered as part of the Seventeen and White Room venues respectively. The pricing is the same as on Britannia.
P&O Cruises mini cruises start from just £179 per person° sailing from Southampton, based on two people sharing an inside cabin. Choose from a short two-night taster cruise to a longer four-night mini break.
Have you dined at The Epicurean restaurant on any P&O Cruises ship? Let me know your thoughts about the experience in the comments below.
Disclosure: P&O Cruises supplied a full-board sailing aboard Britannia, together with a meal for two in the Epicurean Restaurant. I paid for my transport to and from Southampton port as well as incidentals onboard. My opinions are my own.