We’d chosen Topes as our location for lunch on a day trip to Rochester – it also happened to be Valentine’s Day.
Pluses: Good selection on a contemporary menu, with some traditional flavours/seasonal fare served in innovative, but not in an overly complicated or exclusive manner.
The ambiance was good and although we dine up stairs in a reasonably small room, it did not feel overly crowded. Everything was clean and well presented and staff appeared competent and friendly.
I had the seared scallops starter, sea bream main course and brioche bread and butter pudding for dessert. As it was a lunch time visit we only imbibed a glass of house white wine, which was tolerable, but not something to pay too much attention to – if you’re not willing to splash out on a decent bottle of wine over a meal you can’t really complain about the inadequacies of the house white!
The scallops were well cooked – one a little over seared – but this is a quibble; the mussels that accompanied the scallops were expertly cooked.
The sea bream likewise was well cooked – my only criticism being the amount – if not the choice of serving – smoked bacon lardons. The subtle flavour of the bream was over powered at times, making it taste more like smoked haddock. Everything else on the plate was well cooked and married well with the fish.
The only real disappointment was the brioche bread and butter – which was a bit bland – the addition of more dried fruit, perhaps the zest of an orange or lemon, some nutmeg and perhaps using salted butter in its construction, would have raised the flavour stakes a little.
However my partner’s desert (pear tart and butterscotch ice cream) was excellent.
Over all it was a very good afternoon’s food and well priced for what we ate. I would heartily recommend Topes.
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