I have always been fascinated by the 3 bird roast. Why did anyone come up with the idea of cooking a bird inside a bird inside a bird? In the old days, a multiple bird roast was about showing off the wealth of the host, as not that many people could afford such extravagance. Nowadays, the most common 3 bird roast is Turducken, ie. chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. I am not a turkey fan so I was very keen to try out the one served at the Fountain. It was Goopheaken – chicken cooked inside a pheasant inside a goose.
I was a little disappointed to see that the waiter did not serve the whole Goopheaken decorated with feathers of the animals, like they did in the old days (according to some old cookbooks) but that was kind of expected. I knew at the back of my head that it would only be in my dreams that the chef would put a chicken through the bottom of a pheasant through the bottom of a goose. In reality, the animals are all deboned and rolled up in layers, with stuffing inside. At the Fountain, it was all done neatly with delicious orange, chestnut and pork stuffing right in the centre.
I was given 4 different choices of condiments- Cumberland sauce (red currants and oranges), game relish (cranberries, red currants, lemon and Fortnum’s port. The waiter told us that it has rabbit fat in it!), cranberry sauce (cranberries, Fortnum’s LBV port and zesty oranges) and red currants savour. I tried all of them (of course!) and found that the Cumberland sauce was the best to complement the meat as it was light and refreshing.
It was a lot of meat! My favourite was the goose on the outer layer. The skin was crispy and tasty. The meat was succulent and full of flavour. For a while, I could not find the pheasant as the rest of the meat all looked like chicken. After spotting the lead shot that killed it, the pheasant was finally identified. I found the chicken a little tough but in all it was a great main course. The side dishes were all fresh and well seasoned.
I was impressed by the service at the Fountain. It was friendly and efficient. My friend (who cannot eat pork) found out that the stuffing contained pork only when the food arrived. He was quickly offered a change and his order came very quickly. They were very flexible about mixing the dishes on the set menu with the a la carte menu as well.
On the Christmas dinner menu, the starter was supposed to be Fortnum’s London smoked salmon plate. I wished I hadn’t changed mine to scallop and slow cooked pig’s cheeks, as the salmon was amazing! It was like a beautiful long ribbon. It was smoky but not salty nor oily. It was very well cured.
Another lovely starter was the steak tartare. The raw egg yolk sat beautifully on the steak (with no stringy egg white). How did they do it? The dish was deftly prepared and the texture in the mouth was amazing!
It was my birthday so the waiter served my dessert with a cute little candle. (sweet!) The pistacchio brulee was huge with a scoop of pear granita on top. It was a fantastic dessert to finish with my favourite fresh mint tea. Yes, the original Christmas dinner menu has Christmas pudding as dessert but since I am not a fan, I did a swap. I tried my friend’s one though- it was boozy!
The Fountain has an old English charm. It is a perfect place to bring your parents but we also felt welcomed and comfortable there. Dining next to us were three cheerful elderly ladies who talked about computers and Facebook. There was a musician playing guitar on the sofa. It was a lovely and relaxing evening. I actually prefer it to the Ivy.
If you fancy making your own 3 bird roast this Xmas but do not have time to prepare everything, I suggest ordering one online from the Original Farmers’ Market. They offer different meat combination and different sizes for small or big groups. You can get the lovely condiments from Fortnum and Mason mentioned above to add a touch of luxury.
Merry Christmas everyone!The Fountain
Dinner for four with cocktail, incl. service charge £220
181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER, United Kingdom
Telephone: 0845 602 5694