brucedenneyMember since 25 Apr 2009
There is an element of personal preference when reviewing things and clearly some of the previous reviewers have different taste to me.
The food is very good and I live in a house where the food standard is exceptional.
As a vegetarian there was not a huge amount of choice but to be frank that is the norm.
I will tell you the minor imperfections in my meal, I will tell you how I would have done it differently, but this is a public restaurant, they are catering to everyone not my personal taste.
The food was prepared with care and presented very nicely.
The service was exemplary, and the environment perfectly pleasant.
I will go back.
To the food:-
My starter; a baba ganoush fritter, had mint on it and I really don't like mint in savoury food. But they had not over done it, it was mild, indeed, I loved it, they got it spot on, the fritters were fantastic, and very enjoyable, a faultless start, despite my taste!.
Main course; a filo parcel with roasted butternut squash and filled with spinach and ricotta. I am not very keen on filo pastry it is a little passe now. The butternut squash was superb, the filo a little oily to my taste and slightly soggy on the underside, the spinach was gorgeous, really fresh and green not overcooked (overcooked spinach gets a taste like partly composted grass, this was not like that at all). But what was the point of the Ricotta? White tasteless cheese, they could have mixed them to make a creamy filling, but personally I would not. They could have used feta and made this spanakopita which would have been great but perhaps not edgy enough for the styler of cuisine. It needed something with more edge, it could be goats cheese but the restaurant has a "local" feel to the sourcing of it's food so why not use something really English in an atypical way, Caerphilly would be my choice.
Desert; pure heaven, faultless coffee ice cream and a huge shard of pecan brittle. Excellent ice cream, great coffee flavour, if ever they run out they could do afagato instead of coffee ice cream, indeed it they wanted a vegan dessert then afagato made with Swedish glace would be the biz, indeed it might give a great dessert even more "presence" afagato look great. My partner had a chocolate mouse, I was tempted by hazelnut meringue and passion fruit fool (I have a memory of Japonaise biscuits/cakes I have been wanting to relive for many years.)
The coffee; was brilliant, excellent espresso, if the coffee wasn't this good I wouldn't suggest afagato.
Drinks; Lunchtime is not a time to drink a huge amount and wine is not my drink of choice, my love is ale and it is a shame that so few restaurants offer anything other than a lager. I was offered not one, not two but three bottle ales. The local brew Ferrymans gold, from the Loddon brewery was excellent. My partner is a Cider drinker, but drank an excellent Sauvingon Blanc. The barman hearing she was a cider drinker was keen for her to try the two French ciders they had, now I have no taste for cider, but my partner assures me that they were both pleasant enough, although neither to her taste.
Environment; It is a little cramped, I can imagine it could be a bit noisy in the evening. Maybe some more fabric and softer furnishings around might help bring the noise down.
Veggie; As a strict vegetarian, I am a little unsure of labelling on dessert menus, restaurants don't put a V next to things so we have no idea if they contain gelatine, indeed, the suggestion is that none of the desserts are vegetarian. V's on the dessert menu would be nice. I would like to think that the few pence it costs to use free range eggs wa