You could have a serious pig-out session as there are four courses to select from, and that’s exactly what we did - true to form!
They have a handful of bites you can order as a snack to accompany a drink, or do as we did and start your feast with one of their rather amazing chorizo scotch eggs (£4.50), complete with runny yolk! The chorizo makes this a hand grenade of flavour!
I’ll admit, it was hard to decide on just one starter because nearly all of them appealed to me, but it was the heritage beetroots, goats curd & hazelnut salad (£8) that won the contest. Mixed with endive leaves (and those hazelnuts were caramelised), this rather sumptuous salad would have been a good lunch choice with a cold glass of white wine.
Kingsley tucked into the salt ‘n’ pepper squid with nuoc cham (which is a Vietnamese dipping sauce) at £7.50. The sauce is the perfect balance of tanginess, spiciness and sweetness. When I asked Kingsley what he thought of his starter he replied with ‘squidalicious’. God knows what that means but I took it as a good thing seeing as his usual response is ‘yeh nice!’.
For mains, Kingsley ordered the 8oz flat iron steak (£15.50) with bone marrow butter (£2.50). I’m not usually one for steak, so when Kingsley offered me a bite, I hesitated at first, but I can confirm, The Tavern do it well – very tender. This time, when I asked Kingsley his thoughts, I got a big thumbs up, all I can guess is that his imagination had run out by this point, but he ate every last bit so the lack of words is by no means a bad reflection on the meal!
I had Westcombe ricotta malfatti which is served on a bed of peas, broad beans and mint. I was a malfatti virgin so had to Google it:
‘The spinach and ricotta dumplings called “Malfatti” translate to “poorly made” in Italian, a reference to their large, rustic shape.’
Now that may be the meaning on Google, but my malfatti was definitely not poorly made! These dumplings, which are lightly fried so they retain their shape, are absolutely gorgeous, especially when topped with loads of parmesan and served with fresh peas and broad beans. What a good nod to the final days of summer. Again, a glass of white wine would have made this slide down even better! I’ll explain my reason for not drinking later.
The malfatti was substantial enough on its own but on the recommendation of our server, I also ordered their silky smooth mash with bone marrow butter. It pushed me over the edge! If you're looking for indulgent, this pot of mash is exactly that. The sad thing though, is that from now on, no other mashed potato will ever measure up!
The staff checked in with us a few times and did ask if we wanted any ‘proper’ drinks, but we declined and stuck with soft drinks (they do a good mocktail by the way). This is because PJ (the new addition to the Thompson family) is just six weeks old and as much as I’d like to be able to say I’m taking it all in my stride, I’m not, and the thought of getting up through the night after having a ‘proper’ drink fills me with dread! You can check out PJ in the pics below.
Well and truly stuffed, we made the silly decision to go for pudding (£6 each). Usually I would’ve gone for the sticky toffee but my tummy couldn’t cope with something that big so I opted for the ‘lighter’ option of caramel burnt cream, which was like a caramel flavoured crème brulee. I made a good choice.
Kingsley on the other hand, felt brave, and went for the sticky toffee ice cream sandwich, which by the way, is exactly what it says on the tin: A sticky toffee pudding cut in half served with a big hunk of ice cream sandwiched in the middle, the whole lot is then smothered in sticky sauce. I had a bite and felt like I’d died and gone to heaven, but a bite was all I could manage. Perhaps I’ll pop in one day and just order this pud on its own!
Have you ever tried bone marrow butter?! Or indeed a sticky toffee ice cream sandwich?!