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Sadly didn't live up to expectation. Lovely service. Great atmosphere. Average/below average food.
Starters: Pork rillette was woefully under seasoned, and thus lacked flavour. The layer of clarified butter was too thick. Lamb salad was better -- lovely slivers of pink lamb on bed of punchy watercress went down well.
Mains: Game special of mallard with traditional trimmings of game chips, watercress, bread sauce and foie gras. Mallard was raw -- skin had been coloured, but obviously hadn't gone through the oven so the flesh was still jelly like and stone cold. Sadly had to be sent back. When it returned, it had been cooked to a nice rareness and replated -- unfortunately, because of no resting time, the meat was tough. Watercress with mustard vinaigrette was tasty, but the bread sauce lacked flavour (couldn't detect any clove or bay leaf whatsoever). Foie gras quenelle was delicious. Husband's venison had been cooked nicely, but the white bean and bacon stew it sat on top of lacked flavour. Could have done with a decent mirepoix or something. Also, as my plate was being recooked, my husband was in that awkward position of whether he should eat his or wait to keep me company. We do, after all, go out to eat together. This isn't Wagamama.
Dessert: Chocolate and prune brownie with ice-cream was delicious -- moist, rich, but not too sweet. Rice pudding with clementine marmalade -- rice was raw/crunchy. Obviously hadn't been baked. Nobody wants to eat 'al dente' rice pudding. On the plus side, it smelt great with a heady scent of vanilla, and the crystallised clementine rind was good.
Positives were: inclusive sparkling water, good quality bread and butter, good loose leaf tea, lovely service, great dining room, fab atmosphere, pretty chintzy unmatched floral/chinoisery crockery. All the wood and the small size of the venue made the place feel very cosy indeed.
The point of simple cookery celebrating produce etc. etc. is that it needs to be executed perfectly as there's nowhere to hide with so few ingredients. We both wanted to love the Quality Chop House but simply couldn't. And it wasn't cheap -- we paid £89 including 12.5% service charge for three courses for two, a diet coke and 2 teas, excluding wine.
Such a shame.
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Food 4 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 2
Saturday, December 21, 2013