Sunday, 1:30 booking. Not Sunday lunch though…although we do love a roast. This was the usual evening menu as the pub trade calms before the December storm. Shopping or saving? Not sure. But hey, who’s complaining when the food is as a magical as this?
Kamal is head chef here. I’ve written about his fusion style before. He is Sri Lankan originally. A gentleman who takes the time to come out of the kitchen and chat to the happy customers. And a bit of a alchemist when he is in his domain.
We decided on no starter, and to have two different mains. But an amusee Bouche arrived from chef. Gravadlax with truffle and more. Just look at it! A work of art and a work of taste explosions. Oh. This was shaping well.
We both had Pheasant in our mains. There are so many shoots around us that the darn side roads are full of escapees. To be honest, anything to reduce their numbers is good news by me. We did our bit by eating a couple!
Mine was a game pie. Hare and Rabbit to add extra flavour to the pheasant. J’s was straight roasted pieces of breast. With roast artichokes to add more excitement. As with all good chefs, the sauces were fantastically concentrated and rich. Vegetables were fabulously crunchy and fresh. And the chips were exactly how they are described in the best cook books. Crispy exteriors but with cloud-like fluffy insides – like you always want and expect the perfect chip to be – but they never are.
And that’s the attention to detail. It definitely went very quiet when we were presented with the dishes. We did try each other’s. I loved the roasted artichokes. And the pheasant itself was juicy, and as gamey as you would wish. Sometimes I have been drily disappointed with all of the white game birds. Ended up like over cooked cheap chicken. Not here, of course.
I do think game, from pigeon to partridge to pheasant really suits a slow cook -personified by a good old English style pie. Just succulence at its best. I ate slower and slower, to both savour and prolong the experience. Jane said I’d shut my eyes reverentially at one point…I do remember it. Rather an other worldly experience, to be fair. Just fab.
We couldn’t resist sharing a pud. And very glad we did so…Apple Strudel, with amazing custard sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
We don’t want everyone to know about this hidden gem. It opens properly, from Wednesday Lunch to Sunday afternoon. Chef is looked after because he really does deserve to be.
I have no idea why I’m publicising them! But hey, I’m going to work my way through the menu over the next couple of months. I look forward to seeing you in there. But please, if there is a table served for me, don’t complain that you can’t get in. I saw it first!
Thanks Kamal and Liz. It is so good we have this gem so close to home. It’s not a bad old life.