Went to Seven Lanterns for "Valentine's Day" but had to go the day after Valentine's Day as it was booked out when I tried to make the booking.
We were seated in the upstairs section which I appreciated as it seemed quieter than downstairs and a bit more private. The décor was pleasant and conducive to a relaxed atmosphere. We ordered the degustation menu as it seemed a good way to try different things. I was a bit apprehensive because I am not a big eater and don't like to feel bloated at the end of a night, but the menu claimed that the meals were portion controlled to be enjoyed easily by one person so I trusted that. Rest assured that you won't feel as if you have over-eaten. The portions are very small, but by the time you have had the 7 dishes you should feel reasonably fed, unless you are someone who really likes a big feed in which case you should probably head to an all-you-can eat buffet.
The accent here is definitely on quality, and it doesn't disappoint at all on that score. There wasn’t a dish we didn’t like, and we particularly enjoyed the pork belly (enjoyed guilt-free because of the portion size!) – not just because of the pork & crackling but the accompaniments of daikon and lemon/apple/honey sauce that just combined brilliantly. You choose from 2 mains and 2 desserts.
The ribs sounded “to die for” but I was again apprehensive about having a meal that might be messy to eat, but again the waitress reassured me that it was not at all messy and that the meat would just fall off the bone. Tick, tick and again tick – it was to die for, it was not at all messy and the meat fell off the bone. Absolutely DELICIOUS.
And so to dessert – sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and icecream. I was worried this might be heavy and sickly rich but again there was no problem. The pudding was not heavy or overly rich and for once it was nice to have a dessert delivered with a scoop of ice-cream that was a decent size. It is a pet hate of mine that when restaurants serve ice-cream on the side it is often a dollop no bigger than a dessertspoon. It was a relief to have a decent serve of ice-cream so the pudding and sauce could be enjoyed without being too cloying from lack of ice-cream.
To top off what had already been a great night, we had David come to our table and those of the others upstairs for a personable chat and to check how things were going. The first thing he did was to notice that one guest was shivering from being seated directly opposite the aircon and so insisted that they move to another table out of the airstream.
He then decided that as there was just a handful of us there and it was the day after Valentine’s Day that we should celebrate a day late anyhow and brought us all some champagne on the house. This just finished things off perfectly from what had been a really enjoyable night. I also would like to comment on the toilet facilities which were beautifully presented and clean.
The only perplexing thing to resolve is the issue that on the one hand there are real favourite dishes on the menu that guests always remember and come back for… against the need to also change the menu so regular customers also have different offerings. Perhaps one idea to try might be to have one degustation menu of “all time favourites” and another which is the seasonal one. That way those who want to have the “classic” house dishes can stick to the tried-and-true and those who want to have a different dining experience can try something new each time…???
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