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Haywards Restaurant – Epping

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For the last five years, I’ve been a frequent diner here at Haywards. This to me is an easy decision as for one it’s only half an hours drive away. The other reasons are is that the food is simply amazing which is matched by the fabulous service you receive from an excellent young team.

It’s not hard to see why this restaurant once again won Best Restaurant in Essex and now also has the well deserved honour of being a 2 AA Rosettes restaurant to which I’m sure in the future will increase. So as I said the food created by Chef Jahdre Hayward is fantastic and full of stunning flavours which without any doubt has been improving year by year. So what to expect in 2019 well if our first visit of this year is anything to go by then I would recommend booking a table now as you’ll be in for a treat. We arrived on Saturday for lunch and received our usual nice welcome before being shown to what I can now say is our regular table. While enjoying our pre-lunch drinks owner Amanda said that if it was ok with us Chef has created for us a Special Tasting Menu which would include all the new dishes.

A lunchtime Tasting Menu is something that they’re looking to introduce so please feel free to ask about its availability. Well, honestly how could we refuse so gladly accepted and couldn’t wait to see what he’d produced. We started first with some fabulous Granary Sourdough Bread before enjoying a Carrot & Ginger Veloute along with Paprika Crackers & Arancini Balls.

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Now it was time for our first course and wow it was outstanding a Foie Gras & Green Tea Ballotine with Salted Grapes & Pickled Apple a truly amazing way to begin. This was followed by a fantastic vegetarian dish a Roasted Cauliflower with Ricotta Dumplings, Capers, Pine Nuts & Raisins – just heaven.

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Now on to our next course and yes it was another dish full of flavour as we were treated to a Ham Hock Boudin, Jerusalem Artichoke Purée & Thyme Foam simply delicious. This heavenly dish led us on to our main course which consisted of a Pan Roasted Breast of Pheasant, Confit Leg & Caramelised Celeriac Purée with the added delight of Potato Dauphinois which is always amazing here.

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We now needed a short rest before moving on to desserts to which we were told there would be two. This was music to my ears as yes I love desserts. The first dessert was a divine Coconut Brûlée with Mango Sorbet & White Chocolate Aero. This was followed by a Pumpkin Tart with Nutmeg Ice Cream & Poached Clementines & Purée. We wondered if the Tart would be a bit savoury but it was nice & light and worked well with the nutmeg ice cream it was just delicious.

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We finished with a coffee and petit fours to bring to an end another fabulous lunch at Haywards and if this is what’s to come in 2019 then all diners are in for something special.

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I would highly recommend a visit so you can see for yourself why this restaurant gets the accolades it deserves. In Jahdre they have one of the best chefs around & under the guidance of Amanda & Anne the front of house team are so friendly and professional. So don’t delay and book a table today you will not be disappointed. I’ll probably be back in a couple of weeks for another fantastic visit 

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Galvin Green Man

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We were wanting to meet our friends and their 18 month old son somewhere nice for lunch and we really couldn’t have chosen a better place. The Galvin Green Man really does cater for everyone and are also pet friendly. Their food menus are also amazing value for money especially the Bib Gourmand & Children’s. You will find this place in the quiet setting of Great Waltham along a nice country lane. As you arrive your first impression is amazing as the entrance has an extensive glass front which allows you to see straight into the bar/reception area. As you enter you see that to the right of the bar is the pub and to the left is the very large and modern restaurant with fabulous views firstly of the huge garden plus children’s play area and then the local countryside. Upstairs they also have four function rooms. You can also see that in the summer that they must host quite a few events as they have an outside bar & BBQ area. On our arrival, we were given a really friendly welcome and although we arrived right on our table time we were told not to rush so, therefore, enjoyed a quick drink and little chat first. We were then taken to our table and given the two menus one being the Al a Carte and the other was the Bib Gourmand menu which as I said at the beginning is amazing value for money ie 3 courses for £17.50. They also have a great menu for the children to which our friend’s son enjoyed a bowl of mac n cheese well who wouldn’t and a chocolate mousse dessert these can be brought out at any time. On the back of the menu is the wine list and was glad to see an English wine on the list from Davenport Vineyards which we ordered and was a delight. Well, I suppose it’s time to move onto the food to which two of us ended up having the Bib Gourmand menu. After enjoying some fabulous homemade bread & butter we moved onto our starters.

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We had the Terrine of Ham Hock & Chicken with a Plum Chutney, a Veloute of White Onion with Parmesan Croutons & the Scotch Egg with Mustard & Pickled Onions After enjoying the fabulous starters it was now time for the main courses and these were also very delicious and a nice healthy size portion as well.

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We chose the Dingley Dell Pork Belly with Mustard, Pomme Purée & Apricot Jus , the Salmon Fishcake with a Poached Egg & Parsley Mayonaisse , the Beef with Mushrooms & Bone Marrow Jus (sorry no pic) & the market fish of the day which was Stone Bass with Lentils & Chorizo It was then time for a nice rest before moving to desserts this allowed time for our friends to take their son out to the play area.

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On their return we ordered desserts a Salted Caramel Tart with Pear Sorbet, a Carrot & Almond Sponge with Stem Ginger & Mandarin Sorbet, the Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream and for the guest of honour a Chocolate Mousse and Orange. All the desserts were heaven and a great way to finish So after finishing with a coffee this brought to an end to a truly fabulous afternoon where the food was excellent and the service from every member of staff was very friendly making you feel very welcome. I would highly recommend a visit to this place whether your a couple or a large group because as I said at the start they cater for everyone. I for one am so glad we came here and already looking forward to making a return visit soon

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The Five Fields

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This was a long overdue return to The Five Fields but I have to say it was definitely worth the wait as it turned out to be a truly fabulous evening. We’ve been here twice before but the last time was over two and a half years ago and I can honestly say it won’t be anywhere near as long before we’re back again.

Set just off the Kings Road and only a short walk from Sloane Square tube station is where you’ll find the restaurant. As you enter the restaurant you immediately get a lovely homely feeling along with a warm and very friendly greeting. As you look into the dining area you see the tables down each side are set out for couples where each person faces inwards. There are larger tables down the centre plus upstairs is a Private Dining Room.

Once seated we were treated to a delightful glass of Welsh Sparkling Rose from the Ancre Hill Estates. We also enjoyed some amazing snacks while we looked at the menu. On this occasion, we decided to opt for the eight-course Tasting Menu. It was then time to meet the wonderful sommelier Anna who it was a pleasure to chat to throughout the evening. Regarding our choice of wine, we said that we would like to just have a bottle than the matched wine option to which Anna recommended a fabulous Riesling Trocken from Germany which was an absolute delight and really matched each course nicely.

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Now onto the food itself and we started with a stunning Scallop with Tomatillo & Lime this was followed by a heavenly Lobster with Fennel & Lardo. These dishes were brought to us by our Spanish waitress Lourdes who was so friendly and professional and truly added to our magical evening The next two courses were equally fantastic.

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The first being an amazing Beef Tartare with Mushroom followed by a simply stunning Foie Gras with a Beetroot Brioche & Blackberries Before we got to the main course we had the pleasure of a beautiful Turbot dish which came with Seaweed & Garlic So now it was time for the mains to which there was a choice of two. One being Roe Deer served with Courgette & Potato and the other was Grouse which came with Pumpkin & Girolles. We decided to have one dish each and can honestly say they were both worthy of being the highlight dish of the evening as they were just amazing Before dessert we decided to opt for a cheese course which apart from one French cheese the rest were British & Irish. The cheese was nicely presented to us by our delightful waitress Lourdes.

 

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We then had a pre-dessert which was a fabulous Melon with Hazelnut & Orange. This led us into our last course a delightful dessert of Honey, Lemon & Tarragon and the Sweet Wine chosen by Anna a Vouvray from the Loire Valley matched the dessert beautifully. This brought an end to an outstanding evening where the food, wine and service were of the highest order and will definitely go down as one of the highlights of the year.

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Therefore I would highly recommend that you put a visit to this restaurant very close to the top of your list and as I said at the beginning it certainly won’t be very long before I return

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Cornerstone

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On hearing that Chef Tom Brown was looking for a venue to set up his own restaurant I was very excited to find out where that would be. Then when we heard that it would be in Hackney Wick I was at first a bit surprised but secondly very happy as it wasn’t too far away. In fact, it’s in a great location just one stop from Stratford in an area that is quickly being redeveloped which should be great for the restaurant.

Being very keen to visit knowing his background as Head Chef for Nathan Outlaw and also seeing him on Great British Menu we decided last Saturday to do just that. We got on a train at Romford then just 20 minutes later we’re walking out of Hackney Wick station where you immediately see all the redevelopment taking place. Then just a very short walk from the station you arrive at Cornerstone which is set in a quirky little area.

As you enter the restaurant there’s a nice relaxed & casual atmosphere. We were greeted by one of the staff who all were very friendly throughout our visit. We started with a drink at the bar and it was from there you got a great view of the big open kitchen in front of you with the tables set out at the front and down each side of the kitchen. We were then seated at the side in fact right where Tom was himself which was great and gave you an insight into seeing a chef run his restaurant close up.

We were then given the menu and as we expected it was mainly fish, in fact, nine of the twelve courses which are all sharing plates. Our waiter went through the menu options to help us decide but we just looked at him and said can we have everything which seemed to please him so that’s exactly what we did.

We started with some Sourdough Toast & Coral Butter before enjoying a fabulous Pickled Oysters with celery, horseradish & dill we then enjoyed some delightful Raw Hand Dived Scallops with Tomato before a stunning Cured Monkfish with grape, almond & sherry vinegar. The next course was a fantastic Mackerel Pate with seaweed, cucumber & homemade Rye Bread. This was then followed by a beautiful Asparagus dish with smoked cod’s roe.

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We then had an amazing Lamb Shoulder Kiev with anchovy, pea & mint before enjoying a fantastic Potted Shrimp Crumpet with kohlrabi, gherkin & parsley. The final four courses were some of the best fish dishes you could wish to try and we started with an amazing piece of Plaice with lobster, paprika & courgette. Followed by a fabulous Roast Pollock & Cafe de Paris hollandaise. We then had the most fantastic Cider Braised Cuttlefish with lentil, apple & spring onion dressing, before our last dish a stunning Ray Wing with a spiced aubergine purée, basil & ginger.

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Well it has to be said each and every dish was amazing We chose a lovely bottle of organic wine the Macabeo 2017 with its fruity aromas of apricot, Pear & citrus fruits with floral notes that seemed to compliment the dishes quite nicely It was then time for Cheese & desserts as we jokingly said to the waiter that we were going to have everything. There was a nice selection of five kinds of cheese which came with a delicious Saint Kew Chutney & Sourdough Crackers. Before moving onto desserts which were also heavenly and literally an excellent way to finish. The first being a Cornish Burnt Cream with strawberry saffron & ginger. The second was a Chocolate Mousse with raspberry & pistachio bringing to an end a simply amazing lunch.

After finishing with a coffee it was time to head home but not before having a nice little chat with Tom who came across as a really nice person. He also asked us which was our favourite dish which was the hardest question of the day as they were all a delight and we couldn’t reply with just one. This was definitely some of the best fish courses I’ve had the pleasure of tasting and I’m already looking forward to a return visit. So with the food being amazing the staff so friendly and a nice atmosphere I would highly recommend paying a visit to this restaurant I honestly believe you will not be disappointed

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Haywards Restaurant

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There are many reasons why I’m a frequent diner at Haywards but the main ones are:

1) the food is always amazing created by Chef Jahdre Hayward and his wonderful team

2) the wine which we often asked to be matched with each course is chosen superbly by Restaurant Manager Amanda Hayward

3) the service is very professional from the excellent young and friendly waiters/waitresses and it was a pleasure to have witnessed all three once again on Saturday of last week as we took friends to experience a Tasting Menu & Matched Wines evening.

On arrival, we were greeted so warmly before being shown to our table where we enjoyed a lovely cocktail while perusing the menu. It didn’t take us long to decide that we were all going to have the Tasting Menu. After enjoying some delightful snacks it was time for the first course a fabulous Chicken Leg & Sweetbread Ravioli with a Roast Chicken Consommé.

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Our second course was the Optional Extra Course of Scallop, Octopus, Red Pepper Purée & Chorizo Foam serves in the Scallop Shell. This led us onto the fantastic Mushroom Risotto topped with Black Truffle We then moved on to a beautiful fish course of a Fillet of Cod and a Brussels Sprout Purée before going on to the main course a Braised Short Rib of Beef with miso & aubergine purée which was equally as fantastic.

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Before moving onto to the desserts we all decided to have the additional cheese course as the restaurant has a wonderful selection of British & Irish Cheeses.

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Now it was time for dessert and another memorable dish a nice a light Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse with an Orange Sorbet & Yoghurt Foam we then received a lovely surprise as the Chef sent us out an extra dessert a stunning Apple Crumble Soufflé & Cinnamon Ice Cream which brought us to an end of a very memorable evening.

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I would really like to Thank all of the team at Haywards for such a fantastic evening. To Jahdre for the amazing food, to Amanda & assistant Anne for the wine selection which included a delightful wine from a local supplier Parvills Farm in Epping and to the waitresses for exceptional service. This restaurant to me is the Best in Essex and the county really should be so proud of it and one that should definitely be placed on anyone’s places to dine lists

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The Ritz Restaurant

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An absolutely stunning meal in what is a fantastic hotel is the only way to describe our recent dining experience. From the moment we arrived, we were amazed by the exquisite decor and the friendly and professional staff who looked after us and made us feel so welcome.

As you make your way down the beautiful corridor, passing where they serve afternoon tea, to the end where you are presented with a gorgeous view of the amazing dining room to where the fantastic experience begins as the waiters & sommelier take over and I have to say the service was of the highest order.

While we looked at the menu we enjoyed a lovely glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne. Our decision was to go for the Menu Surprise which was to be a Six Course Tasting Menu. Choosing not to have the Matched Wines we decided to select our own wines with the help and excellent advice from the sommelier.

So now we move onto the food to which under the inspiration of Chef John Williams was as amazing as the dining room itself. We started with some delightful snacks before moving onto our first course a fantastic Foie Gras dish with a slice of toasted brioche this was followed by a heavenly Langoustine course then it was a Celeriac dish which was prepared at the table.

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The sauce for the following Turbot fish course was also prepared in front of us at the table. Then the main dish, a truly outstanding Beef Wellington which was absolutely stunning & matched with a superb Barbera D’Alba red wine.

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Our next course was cheese but with a difference, a delightful Goats Cheese twill with pear before the main dessert a Chocolate mousse with a chestnut purée and topped with Meringue Straws. With our coffee, we were served delicious petit fours to finish our amazing lunch.

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Definitely, an experience not to be forgotten and one we will remember for a long time. This is certainly a restaurant I would highly recommend as I would this magnificent hotel, where the attention you get even before you enter the dining room is hospitality at its finest. It wouldn’t be a hard decision to return again soon.

 

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cover image by Moritz Schmittat https://schmittat.uk

Core by Clare Smyth

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When I heard the news that Clare Smyth was going to open her own restaurant my excitement on waiting for this to happen was very high having tasted her food at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey and also that she had Rob Rose as her Restaurant Director you just knew this was going to be a fantastic dining experience. So when the day came that you could book I couldn’t wait and yesterday we went and believe me it was just the amazing experience that I thought it would be.


Set in a lovely location on Kensington Park Road a short walk from Notting Hill Station. As you enter the warm and friendly greeting that you receive is delightful and makes you feel very relaxed straight away. We decided to enjoy two excellent cocktails before lunch in the bar where the staff were very engaging. We had the Milk Punch and a specially made cocktail consisting of White & Dark Rum and Mandarin. Then came a wonderful surprise as we were being shown to a table, that we thought would be in the restaurant itself instead we were seated at the Chefs Table from where you see into the open kitchen and see everything happening before your very eyes and yes it was amazing to see.

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So now we are greeted by Restaurant Manager Davide and the friendliness & professionalism continued as we were given a nice complimentary glass of Sparkling Wine while we looked at the menu. We decided to have the Tasting Menu this which started with a fantastic selection of snacks that included Gougeres, Duck Wings and Jellied Eel. This led to our first course and what a way to start with a stunning Isle of Mull Scallop full of amazing flavours of the sea this was followed by the Charlotte Potato with herring & trout roe to be followed by a delightful Skate with shrimps & brown butter. With the experience already living up to the expectations, we then moved on to the fantastic Lamb Braised Carrot with sheep’s milk yoghurt plus delightful dumplings before the highlight of the menu a stunning Roast Grouse with red cabbage & bell heather just heavenly.

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All of the courses were matched superbly by a fantastic selection of wines chosen by the excellent Sommelier.

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Now onto the desserts with a nice & light Cherry Bakewell dish before a sublime Pear and Verbena with Poire Williams sorbet then while enjoying ”this dessert out came an extra and it was amazing, a glorious Pain Perdu with figs, honey & verjus matched again with a superb Sweet Wine this rounded off a truly outstanding dining experience.

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I have to say that every expectation was met with the food & service being 1st class. I really can’t see it being long before the awards start rolling in with Clare at the helm and her excellent Head Chef Jonny Bone who it was a delight to have met and a great team behind her you can only see this restaurant rise to the top. So yes I would highly recommend a visit, I for one will definitely be returning soon.

 

Cover image by Moritz Schmittat https://schmittat.uk

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Medlar

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I have to say visiting this restaurant was a truly delightful experience with great food good wine and a very friendly atmosphere. Had heard about this place a couple of years ago decided to keep my eye on it and liked everything I was hearing so yesterday to the Kings Road Chelsea we went . The restaurant is situated about half way between Fulham Broadway & Sloane Square and has a real local feel. A nice friendly greeting on arrival then shown to our table to enjoy a lovely G&T to which they have a good selection while we looked at the menu.. A very appetising Lunch menu with a good choice of starters , mains and desserts . We decided to have the Mackerel Tartare & the Wood Pigeon Boudin & both were very delicious indeed then on to the mains which were the Suckling Pig Loinwith Glazed Cheek which was amazing & the Boudin of Corn Fed Chicken and also fantastic these courses were superbly matched with great wine chosen by the sommelier. So next we’re the desserts a Strawberry & Prosecco Jelly a delightful light dessert & the Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel which was heaven as was the Sweet Wine to match . To finish was some delightful Petit Fours to go with our nice selection of teas. So glad to have finally visited and will definitely return and would also highly recommend that if your in the area to pop you will not be disappointed

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Oklava – ” I definitely can’t wait to return”

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The easiest way to start is review is to say that this is one of the best Turkish meal I’ve ever eaten, the flavours of each course were amazing.

This little restaurant set in the streets of Shoreditch was a real delight with a fantastic menu created by chef Selin Kiazim. When we looked at the menu, believe me, we just wanted to try everything but in the end, we went with the recommendations of our excellent & friendly waitress and so glad we did as they were fantastic choices. They also have a great selection of wine and most also seem to be by the glass

 

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They also have a great selection of wine and most also seem to be by the glass as well plus a great Izmir Beer.

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The restaurant has an opened kitchen so you can smell the amazing flavours before they reach the table. Well, I suppose I better get to the food which started with a delicious Baharat Spiced Bread & Date Butter before the amazing Pastirma Sausage & Grilled Hellim, this was followed by a stunning Flatbread which included Octopus, Ricotta & Caper Leaves then a fantastic Aubergine dish.

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I then came to the mains, Crispy Pomegranate Glazed Lamb & Seftali Kebab just food heaven. Do remember to leave room for dessert as you won’t want to miss out on these. One was a Kinefe a Crispy Kadayif & Cheese Pastry & the other a stunning Chocolate! Prune & Cardamom Delice matched with a delightful Turkish dessert wine. I definitely can’t wait to return and I would highly recommend a visit as the food, service and general friendliness of the place makes it a real pleasure.

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Rubino Kitchen

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Rubino Kitchen is a lovely little restaurant set in a lodge on a farm in Maldon , Essex and a real credit to the county as this small team under the guidance of Head Chef Rob produces some great and interesting dishes from using great local produce.

 

It’s a small restaurant but has a great friendly feel from the moment you arrive until you leave . So onto the evening itself they have a good menu where you can choose from 1 to 5 courses which can come as a starter or main or as we did we went for the Tasting Menu so that we could try every course.

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We started with a nice and refreshing White Grape Gazpacho which was delicious before moving on to what was my favourite course the Haddock Scotch Egg with peas , raisin & curried puffed rice it was heaven. Then a Beef Carpaccio delightful followed by a Sweetcorn Risotto which came with Balsamic Vinegar interesting but it worked then to balance the Menu we had a lovely Cod with Octopus Caponata it was beautiful.

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Now onto the main course of Braised Lamb Tortellini & Smoked Aubergine Purée with Gem Lettuce & Beans a great hearty course to finish well almost because there’s always time for Desserts, yes Desserts .

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There were three on offer so of course we had to try them all the first being a Blackcurrant Panna Cotta with Honeycomb which I got to eat myself as my wife decided to have some Gorgonzola Cheese & Crackers. Next was Mille Feuille and to finish a Baked Alaska with Lemon Ice Cream nicely made by Dana .

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I have to say it was a really pleasant evening good food and very friendly service so look forward to returning soon 

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