I booked for an 8pm seating on Friday evening, for a much needed catch up and drinks after a long working week (well, two of the four of us work long hours...). Arriving early Mr D and I sat in the bar for a G&T and a lager before our friends arrived - yes, spot the early finishers! The pub is busy most days of the week however, I would say on a Friday evening it acts more as a bar/pub with music playing and the atmosphere (for me) is great, really buzzy and generally good fun.
Our other diners arrived and we were seated, coats taken and drinks orders done and dusted. I went in thinking I wanted fish or that incredible burger, no starter, but a pudding I ended up with quite the opposite. The menu makes you rethink your choice and then change it, again!
Sadly my pocket camera is on the blink and typically, as I am nearing the end of my contract, my phone is playing up (why is that?!) so excuse that some of the photo's are indeed VERY grainy and a little bit...well...rubbish to say the least...
For starters, two of us had their 'famous chilli salt squid, green chilli and coriander'. A decent portion size and the amount of fresh chillies present, the heat lovers amongst you would not be disappointed A.S. being one of these! I was told that this was really good, light crispy batter and the spring onion and chilli giving a sharp bite in contrast to the fried seafood. The dipping sauce was sour and sweet, so again another great accompaniment to go with the squid.
Mr D went for one of his ultimate favourites 'sticky Chinese BBQ ribs, pea shoots and coleslaw. The meat fell off the bone and the sticky sweet sauce was delicious. The accompaniment of coleslaw was different and not expected with a starter rib dish but it was super and creamy, which cut through the heavy sauce.
I chose a half pint of prawns, buttered sourdough bread and aioli. A really simple dish, not always what I would choose, however 'A.S' said I was boring if I went for a salad. So, pressure got the better of me, but it was just what I wanted and the aioli was so yummy I mopped my bread in it when I ran out of prawns (naughty).
A fifth guest arrived ordered a larger and a side of chips to arrive with our mains (he 'wasn't hungry'). The staff were more than accommodating for this extra body and didn't mind one bit. In fact, I would go as far to say our waiter was utterly charming, all the staff that evening were which, for us, made for an even better evening.
For the mains A.S. went for their 8oz Cheeseburger, bacon and hand cut chips, 'without question' and said it was seriously good. The only thing that bugged me with this dish was presentation in that the chips looked a little lost on the plate, they could have done with being in a bowl or something more innovative than being plonked on the plate... however fussiness aside, these were also very good, crispy and fluffy on the inside.
Mr D went healthy, and chose their fish special, 'Roasted Pollock, saffron broth with spinach, mussels and clams...' I had food jealousy (not that mine wasn't scrumptious but I love fish, and this looked so good). The broth was amazing and not over powering, the fish was roasted to perfection and the mussels and clams added an extra depth to an already moreish dish. YUM-MY!
I had 'Confit of duck, winter veg hash, spinach and jus' (they love their spinach here!). Not eating duck regularly at home I tend to chose it when on a menu('Dinner's' version still being my favourite). The skin was crispy, and the meat was really tender I hardly had to use my knife to pull it off the bone...mmmmmmm. The veg hash was scrumptious and great to mop up the yummy jus, I could easily have slurped this up with a spoon!
Tummy's full, we sadly opted out of desserts and carried on nattering away with the booze flowing. The staff were happy for us to stay put till 12:45 whereby we were asked politely to move into the bar, which we did, however this definitely made us realise it was possibly a good time to call it an evening. A wonderful evening, fantastic place to meet friends with wonderful food and a great atmosphere.