An excellent and comprehensive wine list and interesting looking food.
To drink we had the white English Coddington Bacchus (very quaffable, good acidity and light citrus fruit) and the Ridge Zinfandel (lovely, rich and fruity). For the food my wife had the crab followed by the lobster.
The cornish crab was standard fayre – the flesh was slightly more meaty and less sweet than I would have expected and it was served with a crabmeat pate as well, in the upturned crab shell. This was accompanied by grated boiled egg white and yolk (in seperate pots) and softened butter and toast. It was pronounced very nice. I had some of the pate and it was very good though there were a few shards of shell both in the pate and the meat.
The Lobster was reasonably well cooked, succulent and accompanied by good home made chips and a terrible sauce – I couldn’t even tell you what it was and it had spent too much time in the blender. Fortunately this was in a seperate pot. We ordered a side dish of bubble and squeak which was pretty rank – it had swede and turnip in it but no cabbage?
I had the ham hock followed by the pork T-bone.
The potted ham hock was served very cold (straight from the fridge?) in it’s jelly and was delivered in it’s pot – it was a little bland if anything (perhaps because of the temperature). It came with toasted bread (though nowhere near enough) and home made piccalilli. The piccalilli wasn’t the best in the world, a little too wet and runny, and could have been done better. It felt as if it had been cobbled together lazily by someone who didn't really know what picalilli is.
The T-bone was completely overdone – they hadn’t asked me how I wanted it, I don’t really know how that works but there you have it – I think I was going on the assumption that it would be medium rare. This, though, was tough as old boots. The sauce was rich and pungent and also a bit overdone: it consisted of black pudding, mushroom and shallot in what tasted like a straight veal stock reduction. Actually, the whole thing tasted a bit overcooked which leads me to believe that it had been sitting under the hot lamp for a bit too long. In hindsight I should have sent it back. Lesson learnt. I had a side order of mash and this was fine, firm and functional.
For what it was, it came to rather too much. The service was friendly but a bit incompetent – the wrong wine was produced twice for instance. It was quite busy despite being a Wednesday and the staff were a little stretched. the decor was bright, some dark woods, white linen – bistro style.