I’m going to stop saying “Ah, but you have to make allowances at Clink – it’s a training restaurant, not a proper one”. Well, it’s true that the team are all prisoners – but the standard of cooking and service is up there with the local bistro competition.
This time we hit it on the first day of the new spring menu – always a time when things can be shaky with any restaurant, but no worries here. The food was a delight.
There was a tomato and red pepper soup, which tasted of tomato and red pepper – and you can’t ask for more than that. The other starter was quite clever. A warm blue cheese soufflé sat in a bowl surrounded by a chilled pea “broth”. The contrasts of temperature, texture and flavours worked so well, so I forgive them for the soufflé collapsing somewhat.
For one main, megrim sole was a bang-on bit of fish cookery but something of a faff to eat due to its very bony nature. Accompaniments were as seasonal as you can get – crushed Jersey Royals, samphire and a spoonful of a tomato/onion/coriander salsa. The other plate featured another bit of perfect cookery – a pork chop cooked to no more than medium, so that it was still soft and juicy. There’s a cheffy smear or two of pommess puree, a nicely tart apple sauce, purple sprouting broccoli and griddled spring onions.
One dessert was a pretty much perfect seasonal plate of poached rhubarb, sweetened “just enough”. There’s a ball of a really good ginger sorbet. A few fairly pointless, and tasteless, strawberries and a scattering of crushed nuts complete the dish. Across the table, lemon tart was a good effort – crisp pastry and a very lemony filling. There’s ice cream and a couple of dabs of apricot puree – both of them working well with the tart.
Good lunch all round.