Having never visited before I did admittedly go with some high expectations as friends had raved about their experiences. Still I can say the evening surpassed my expectations. The whole experience was a joy, even from the initial phone booking, which was particularly friendly and helpful. The lovely building (an historic old Victorian pumping station) suits its fantastic location on the river, which with its outside tables will be wonderful if we ever get some sun this year. I know that friends have previously been for BBQs here and hope I get to try out this experience soon – COME ON SUN!! The pub area downstairs is in itself nicely decorated; as it was a special occasion however we opted for the restaurant upstairs on the mezzanine. Sat at a table covered in a pristine white tablecloth, perfectly laid out cutlery and a single red rose, the setting added to the special atmosphere.
The menu had a vast amount of tempting options, in fact I could have happily chosen and enjoyed any of the choices from the three courses. We were there for a key reason, however – THE BEEF. An awe-inspiring platter of 35 day dry aged rib + bone marrow of limousine hereford beef, served with triple cooked chips (or jenga chips), salt roast beetroot, watercress + shallot salad. Furthermore, on the side came a little pot of horseradish icecream and little jug of jus. 🙂 This was shared amongst the two of us at the table as we practically drooled in anticipation.
Let’s tackle each element; starting with the beef. Cooked exactly to our taste (I’m a fan of the medium rare, having not quite got to the stage of braving a rare piece of meat), the flavour could only have come from a great quality piece of meat. Vast piles were popped on our plate – be prepared for the meat sweats! The accompanying small towers of chunky crisp, yet fluffy, potatoes were scrummy. One chip did have to be sacrificed on both our parts unfortunately as the stomach filled up and meat took priority. The texture of the bone marrow took some getting used to for me, but the intense flavour was too good to leave any. The salted beetroot was the perfect accompaniment. The salad was not just any salad: mixed up with capers and fried ox tongue it was delicious in itself. Finally, the small little accompaniments: although not being the usual sweet taste you expect from ice cream(it did initially play with my mind a little) the savoury horseradish taste was a delightful surprise.
By the end of such a feast we were feeling pretty full (like undo your top-button full) but as everyone knows you have a different stomach for sweet stuff and we accidentally ordered a dessert. To share though….The temptation came in the form of a bitter chocolate délice paired with the most exquisite “eton mess” and raspberries. I say eton mess; in fact it was a scattering of cute little meringues, raspberry coulis and cream, with an edible garnish of pineapple flavoured leaves and flowers (tasting like flowers).
The service was impeccable throughout the night – exactly the right amount of attention. Basically, the whole evening, down to a particularly delectable G&T, was just lovely! When asked at the end of the meal if there was anything we might fault all the birthday girl could come up with was “Didn’t the beef dish used to be called ‘Celebration of Beef’? You should bring that back” Haha!
Will be venturing back for their three courses for £20 option – amazing value for such yummy food!