Chef Michael Riemenschneider is one of the best kept secrets of the London food scene. Having begun his career in his native Switzerland, Riemenschneider then trained all over Europe, working alongside some of gastronomy’s best known names including Pierre Gagnaire, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay.
His London restaurant opened at the start of this year as a 20-seater eaterie in Marylebone. It has recently relocated to more spacious premises just moments from Sloane Square. The new space is impressive yet it still manages to feel intimate. It is decked in cosy natural woods and earth tones while sketches of Riemenschneider's dish designs add a personal touch.
Arrive early to enjoy the fantastically well-stocked bar. Head barman Kamil Patryk charms everyone with his seemingly boundless knowledge of mixology and proffers tasters of his latest creations as you peruse the menu.
The dining menu consists of 18 dishes, grouped under Sea and Coast, Land and Earth and Guilty Pleasures. Diners choose a conventional three-course à la carte option, a lavish 12-course tasting menu or something in between.
I sampled a six-course tasting menu, matched with wines chosen by Alis Jusic, the restaurant’s talented sommelier. A tantalising amuse-bouche of French onion soup provided an introduction to Canvas’s classic-meets-contemporary approach. Other artfully presented dishes included two seafood show-stoppers, one of smoked trout with apple mayonnaise and pine-infused seasoning, and another of cod with girolles, peas and red pepper.
Both were finely balanced, allowing the outstanding quality of the fish to dominate. A plate of pigeon, black truffle and artichoke purée was perfectly seasoned, while the main course of duck, sweetcorn and baby gem lettuce combined moreish, oriental flavours with French fine-dining finesse. Dessert was an interpretation of another French classic: chocolate mousse was served with raspberry and basil purées, the latter with pleasingly aromatic undertones.
Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider, 1 Wilbraham Place, London SW1X 9AE, +44 (0)20 7823 4463