(Visited: April 2013)
With 2 courses at £12 and 3 at £15 for the pre-theater menu we worried about the quality of the ingredients. But we shouldn’t have. In fact, care in sourcing is a strong point of this joint (which is associated with the Slow food movement).
Nothing was fancy, everything was good, prepared with care, with simplicity in a good way, with taste, and with a light hand.
Steamed mussels were enhanced by a clever cider sauce,
in the same way as a white leek soup (with a strong, perhaps TOO strong, potatoey texture) was transformed by the addition of a little Blue Monday cheese.
For mains, a duck with barley and cabbage was simplicity itself, but when the duck is good and competently cooked, the sauce is light and tasty and the vegetables are good quality, what more can you want at these prices?
From the culinary viewpoint, the most interesting dish of the night was a wild garlic and Yukon Gold potato cake with a poached duck egg and cabbage. It was the opposite of stodgy, the duck egg just perfectly cooked adding that touch of lusciousness when broken and running down the cake…
The ice-cream selection was limited on the night, just green tea ice cream. Man loves it but Woman doesn’t care for it, so the conclusion was obvious: we went for cheeses. One can choose a single type out of three, and we opted for a Brie and a Blue Monday: both were good and in good conditions, but the Blue Monday was served at the right temperature while the Brie was a tad too cold. Also lovely were the accompanying rhubarb chutney and oatmeal biscuits (one again, lightly made).
Tap water is spontaneously provided. Service is super-nice and friendly even if not too well briefed on the food. Probably the Chef should communicate more with the front of house…
A return visit is due for the full a la carte menu (which offers also some of the low-cost menu dishes, sometimes with additional ingredients).