Let me apologise for my first restaurant review being about a meal that was not a wild success. But here goes:-
It’s getting on for a couple of years since we last ate here. In that time, it’s become less pub and more restaurant. You can now make a reservation, a server takes your order rather than you having to order at the bar – that sort of thing. I’m sure that you’d still be welcomed if all you want is a pint and a read of the newspaper, but as far as I can see, everyone was eating.
We’d come because they were having a “game week” – a separate menu solely devoted to game with around four choices at starter and main course. This was running alongside their normal daily menu which was handy as my partner is no big fan of game. Even though it was early evening, my partner’s first and second choice main courses were already “off” - apparently they’d had a particulalry busy Sunday lunch service
Starters were bang on. Scallops perfectly seared with a warm pea, lettuce and bacon salad. A light touch with the pan had been given to a pigeon breast – yes, I’d have preferred it pinker but it was none too shabby. It sat on a beetroot risotto – deep in both flavour and colour. The plate was decorated with quarters of tiny beetroot and there was a little game jus with some texture contrast coming from shards of parsnip crisps.
There was then an overly long wait for main courses. When this happens, you always hope it’s going to be worth waiting for. It wasn’t.
I’d gone with the trio of venison – braised shoulder, a venison hash and a Bambi and cranberry sausage. It was OK but it could have been so much nicer. The braise was dry as can happen and the other two offerings had none of the oomph you’d want. Truth be told, the best bits on the plate were the veg – some excellent long cooked red cabbage and baby carrots. From the sandwich section of the main menu, herself had ordered a smoked mackerel rarebit. Good concept with poor execution. The main problem was the bread wasn’t toasted so everything turned to a bit of a mush – but the flavours were there – nice smoky flavour to the fish and a good cheesy topping. Definitely one to try at home.
Front of house service had been on the ball - the issues were all with the kitchen.