Service, style and location that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.
We were going to wax lyrical about Seth James’s finesse. About the complexity in a skewer of squid with fermented squid sauce, followed by strips of the same squid tossed with truffle. About the precision in the team behind the pans as they lay out slivers of coral trout with green chilli and white kombu, or crisp-skinned duck barely scented with apple and walnut. There was glee, too, in the tiny waffle cone bursting with barely set ice-cream. We still can of course, but with the chef’s departure confirmed, the question is whether Wills will retain such heights.
Technically faultless, aesthetically pleasing, and pushing culinary boundaries like few others, Seth’s Table at Wills Domain was like a temple to high gastronomy, and as such, self-selects its audience.
The good news? Restaurants are a team game, and as technically faultless, aesthetically pleasing, and boundary-pushing as James’s work was, these things don’t happen without a kitchen staffed with proper cooks.
As for the rest, waiters move like gazelles around the room, the view is over the vines, and there’s a wine list that could seem long and expensive, or short and sweet, depending on your approach. This sort of venue self-selects its audience, drawing diners who find delight in such art. James departs, but the foundations couldn’t be firmer.