The menu wasn't that exciting - there is a pre-printed menu with the meat dishes on it, and things like the foie gras and twice cooked soufflé mentioned above, plus a sheet of photocopying paper showing the daily specials.
Nothing on the main menu really appealed to any of us, though Mr PSB, wanting no meat or fish eventually plumped for the vegetable risotto (£13.95). That was a very small portion, and had an over bearing taste of something not particularly nice so the vegetables themselves didn’t shine. It was also a bit overcooked. My turbot with grapes (£18.95) from the daily menu was delicious – perfectly cooked, and in a very simple butter sauce. Mini-PSB had to go for the steak burger from the children’s menu as nothing else appealed to him. Chips were promised with this but none appeared with the food. When they arrived after 10 minutes (a long time when you’re 10) they were also delicious – perfectly cooked (so they do have a deep fat fryer despite the comment above!). The only pudding that I fancied was the strawberry sundae from the children’s menu – which was OK (July strawberries and decent vanilla ice cream). Mr and mini-PSB shared a chocolate brownie with raspberry ripple ice cream which was fine.
Overall, I would say it’s poor value. The service was good, and friendly, and some of the food was very good, but it was let down by the other things – in addition to the economy over the truth of the set menu. For example, we had the ‘marinated olives’ – they were fridge cold, and the only thing they had been marinated in was the brine in the tin – no oil herbs or anything. They were good olives but far too cold, and of course were not as ‘advertised’. The bread was served too hot, and was rather pappy and cakey – like those packs of mixed rolls from M&S. My word the main course portions were tightly controlled – the risotto would have been servied as the pasta dish in Italy, and my turbot was a very small bit though they tried to plump it out - by serving on a bed of the same vegetables that came by the side. The puddings were enormous OTOH, but expensive at £7.50. Given the excellent quality and cheapness of ingredients that I have been buying since we’ve been down here, I am surprised that it’s as expensive as it is. It was definitely better last year - I mentioned that we'd been last year, and the waiter said 'oh we've had a new managr since then, the old one left to set up his own restaurant'. Doesn't sound like it's actually run by the chef, and actually it shows...
Talking of ingredients, I do recommend anyone who’s self-catering, and wants to avoid the supermarkets, to go to Kingsley Village food hall, just off the A30 at Indian Queens. It’s an awful name, and I avoided it for ages, but actually it’s like a really good old fashioned grocers – it even sells Epicure brand products, although most of what it sells is produced in Cornwall – the jams, biscuits and so on. There’s an excellent butchers, with 21 day hung local beef, a very good fishmonger which sells live crabs and lobsters, and turbot(!) and if you arrive early enough at the bakery you can buy Vicky’s organic bread which is sour dough and gloriously chewy. The rest of the bread is supermarket quality. Some of the fruit and vegetables can be a little tired as unlike supermarkets it’s not all kept in fridges, but there’s enough variety for this not to be a major problem, and when the produce is fresh, it’s excellent.
Edited by PoppySeedBagel, 01 August 2009 - 10:23 PM.