My partner and I ate here for dinner about a month ago. She had persuaded me to give it a go as she remembered it as an old stomping ground many many millennia ago. It's been renovated in the past year in a local press frenzy of "2 millions pounds" and much hyperbole. I was very interested to see it to be honest.
The downstairs is very well appointed and the tradesmen who were responsible need congratulating. The designer, however, doesn't. It's so bland and "magnolia" coloured that I kept lapsing into a nightmarish vision of what living inside a scoop of cheap ice cream might feel like. Whomever has ordered the renovation is obviously not short of a bob or two as I noticed the sound system (something I know about from a previous professional musical lifetime) was not cheap and was a bit of overkill for the size of the place and the quality of the music which I was subjected to - the worst of R&B). The fittings throughout went like this -cheap, cheap, average, expensive, average, lottery winner, average, B&Q. It is very, very odd. If I were a betting man I would wager that the owner is a young(ish) affluent male. To the meal...
The staff are very helpful and smiley, and polite in all the right places. The dining room is awful. It's devoid of anything interesting except the sound system which by now I was convinced was the single most expensive fitting in the whole place. The menu was the usual gastro, nouvelle, copied dishes, stuff that you'd expect - chicken, lamb, all with a distinct southern European feel to it. I don't like tomatoes very much. There, I've said it. Only one dish appeared to not contain them - chicken something or other - so I ordered it. Starter of smoked salmon too.
The salmon was beyond reproach. Smokey, no big fat veins, it was well sourced even if it didn't come from the river derwent the other side of the road, as befits the current foodie fashion. I really enjoyed it. The main was a challenge. It came as a chicken "joint" with the small bone scraped back. OK, it was pointless, but it did add attention to detail to my list. The "sauce" it was sitting in was oily and tasted, oddly, of chemicals. I was making the best of the whole affair while trying to look interested as my partner regaled me with stories from 30 years ago until I saw raw chicken. It was close to the bone. Now I'm not one to panic at this sort of thing, even though I had campylobacter, caught in marrakech, for a month, and I like all my meat rare to bleeding, but it wasn't right, Coupled with the chemical sauce and weird over fried diced potato, I gave the dish a thumbs down.
We didn't try pudding.
I'm not feeling angry about this meal, so don't get that idea (even though I felt it was a tad expensive for what it was). I'm more angry that they've "blanded" up the place to the point of misery. I'm absolutely certain the chef has some skill, even when displaying it to an empty dining room. I hope the owner reads this and decides to fill the place out a bit with things which detract from the "barrett home" feel of the place, good though the workmanship is.
I'd like this place to succeed. It's within walking distance and is an imposing building in it's own right.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.