2 Jun 09
Glumly I have to report that the foregoing was short-lived, failing to sustain standard of 5 months. Last night, only one course out of four was very good, added to which service had slipped (not waiting staff, but kitchen seemed slow). A salad of preserved lemons was new so I ordered it having asked what went with the lemons. As promised, it arrived with pea-shoots – such a poorly balanced tasting starter which cried out for a nice blob of crab or something. Best was my partner’s pheasant terrine.
Tonight 29 Apr 09 :-
Venue/Atmosphere – as before good pub (Upstairs good for them as they could accommodate a bus load. and good for diners at ground level, saved from being subjected to large party noise.
Service – exceedingly obliging – no hesitation or bother upon a special request/need
Food – Not quite so good as before, but in terms of taste almost every bit as. Fell short at texture; puff pastry was softly yielding without a flake in sight. Flavour : Prawn and crab starter less than perfect, partly because it was so difficult to extract a balanced spoonful from the whisky style glass it was served in, plus partly owing to very cool temperature and may be the avocado content diluted the flavour a tad.
Wine – Boringly good – sadly we chose the same despite an interesting list.
Conclusiong – For a last minute booking when we required immediate sustenance with minimum fuss……near faultless.
Jan/Feb 2009 :
Traditional food is given a 21st century makeover in real style at this pub of historic setting. No ordinary pub grub served here now compared two or so years ago, when we were somewhat disappointed more than once, sufficiently so to make us go absent for a big gap. This week terrifically fresh ingredients were emphasised by deft execution.
Good nutty bread and creamy French style butter was followed by :
A warm goat’s cheese and jammy onion tart not quite perfect, but so enjoyable as to make me overlook the fact that only the slimmest edge of the flaky pastry was crisp.
Powdered duck which wasn’t, more like rillettes (apparently powdered referred to the spicing process). From the one mouthful my other half sacrificed , spicy orange flavour married well with the duck and fig chutney, which we both placed on the have again list. My lemon sole was rather small (ordered from the specials) but alongside was a generous garnish of rich crab in a salad with preserved lemons – the thought makes my tummy rumble now. With side orders it proved plentiful. Chicken, leek and ham pie was almost comical in presentation, shaped into a tall dome placed on top of a circle of mash surrounded by mustard sauce – I guess it’s a canny way to get a greater proportion of crisp top versus pie base, but I fail to fathom how the chef did it. Also something we’d both order again.
A good spectrum of wines favouring no particular part of the world made interesting choosing and we effortlessly drained a bottle of Spanish Red from Ribera del Duero region, which guess what – we’d order again. Service has also improved…..chirpy, knowledgeable young waitress enhanced the experience. Whilst still a pub like Royal Oak at Paley Street, dishes here have a little more finesse but on par price wise.