Since The Tavern re-opened towards the end of last year, they’ve been serving up mighty fine burgers, fries, salads and amazing side dishes. But now that the chefs have that well and truly under their belt, they felt it was time to introduce a whole new menu, not to replace the burgers, but to sit alongside them for those fancying something a little more experimental. Now, I know The Tavern are keen to keep this new menu a secret between foodies - keep it exclusive and all that - but well, I’ve never been any good at keeping secrets.
The ‘undercounter’ menu has a small selection of bar snacks, juices, cocktails and main plates and what’s more – it changes daily! We had loads of questions about what was on offer and our waiter could not have been more helpful, taking the time to explain everything to us. Choosing correctly is the most important part of dinner-time - no one wants a food-fail!
The best way to navigate this menu (if you really like the person/people you’re out with) is to order a few different things, pop it all in the middle and dig in. That’s what we did, but then I was out with the love of my life - there aren’t many people in the world I’m happy to share with.
We split our order into starters and main plates, although that isn’t necessary. So to kick off our feast we had Grilled Octopus & Chorizo and Hereford Beef & Pork Meatballs served in a spicy tomato sauce. I don’t do octopus (those tentacles just don’t do it for me and the suckers remind me of those horrid non-slip mats in cheap hotel rooms) but Kingsley loves it. He said the chorizo and octopus was a great pairing. The dish works perfectly as a bar snack, although beware of unwanted arms, because Kingsley says you’ll definitely want this all to yourself.
The meatballs were my idea of heaven, well almost; I just needed a giant bowl of pasta to go with! They sure know how to make a good tomato sauce with a kick and the generous portion was just right for sharing (even by my standards).
In between courses, Kingsley supped on a Dunkertons Cider and I tried their salted caramel milkshake. A milkshake of this size and thickness is what I like to call a ‘food drink’: A drink that fills you up as if it were food. Although to be fair, in this case, there probably was half a tub of ice cream in it!
For our main course, we ordered Dirty Mac ‘n’ Cheese with short rib, jalapenos & black truffle. Oh my! I was a fan of The Tavern’s usual Mac ‘n’ Cheese but this pot of gooey goodness is on a whole other level. I’m a carb girl and Kingsley’s very much a meat man, but this dish made both of us smile. I love foods with punch and this certainly packed one, but that’s no surprise what with jalapenos being listed on the description. Had I not downed a litre or so of milkshake beforehand, I would have polished off all of this deliciousness, no probs.
Alongside this we also ordered Quince Glazed St Louis Pork Ribs with red cabbage & brioche buns. Kingsley is the rib guy in our house, and at first he was a little hesitant about the sweetness because of the quince, but the sweet, sticky and tender ribs won him round in the end and there wasn’t a scrap of meat left.
Our sides, in this case a Sprout Slaw and Fries, were most definitely not to be overlooked. I don’t really need to say much about the fries, other than that they were spot on. And as for the Sprout Slaw, The Tavern delivers, yet again. You’ll probably know that about half the population dislikes sprouts because they taste them as bitter, and Kingsley is one of these people, but he got stuck in and actually enjoyed the bitterness alongside the sweeter ingredients.
By this point we were both utterly stuffed, but I’ve always got to finish on a sweet note, so we shared a Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pot. I was only going to have a spoonful but it was so good I just couldn’t stop! This dessert ticks all the boxes for me. I love sickly foods, and salted caramel certainly falls under that category and the other layers added even more flavour and texture. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that this is one of the best cheesecakes I have ever eaten.
Shortly after we’d finished, we bumped into friends who had also just taste-tested the menu and they were complaining of how full they felt. We asked them what they’d had and it turns out they’d had the meatballs for mains – oh boy we must be greedy, we had them for starters!
So many good reasons to visit The Tavern, once again.