Even allowing for Covid lockdown, it’s quite a while since we were last at TNQ. May last year, in fact. Much too long. Like everywhere else, the restaurant has had to adapt to the new situation but it has done it well. Tall, clear plastic screens separate some tables, so they have not lost too many to social distancing. Staff wear masks but, other than that, things seemed much as before. There was a nice relaxed atmosphere. We were about to enjoy ourselves as invariably we’ve done here over the years. An added appeal was that they are offering a 50% discount on their menu, not just on the government supported scheme, but everyday in August, on all the menu, with no cap. Good for them – we’d have come anyway, though.
Bang on for seasonality was a stuffed courgette flower – filled with mascarpone and lemon, lightly battered and deep fried. Perking up the otherwise mild flavours were dabs of tapenade and a very savoury peperonata. Thin slices of crispy lamb breast could have done with more of the advertised harissa but was otherwise fine – doing exactly what it “said on the tin” in the crispy and lamby departments. There’s very British watercress to accompany. And very Eastern Mediterranean chickpeas, pomegranate, yoghurt and feta. It all works exceptionally well.
We both went with fish for main courses. For one of us, it was off to Spain with cod, perfectly cooked to the “just flaking” stage. It comes with chorizo, chunks of tomato, green beans and paprika flavoured liquid that was more broth than sauce. For the other, it’s monkfish – a restrained portion but, again, perfectly cooked. And two big king prawns, to be shelled, which bulked up the protein a bit. There’s some grilled chicory for a hint of bitterness, creamed corn for a hint of sweetness and another seafoody broth. We shared a portion of very good chips (albeit of the fat variety – never as good as proper chip sized chips).
We passed on dessert but did have good espresso.