Friday, 3 December 2010

Bacchanalia - Revisited

In our opinion Bacchanalia has not failed to impress on the occasions we have visited.  Wednesday night was our 3rd time at the restaurant since we discovered it thanks to Groupon and again we were not disappointed.  The important aspect of this trip was the fact that not only did we not have a voucher there wasn't even an early bird option.  This you would think would be a negative - and I suppose it was, however, we thought about it and having seen the menu many times before decided that it would still be well worth the money. 

There is a new menu out to run alongside the Christmas/Festive options in which there are a few extra dishes as well as little changes to the previous ones.  For instance, the Pork Wellington I had on our 1st visit now has stuffing too.  A friend we were with this time, had it and claims to have enjoyed it very much.

So were there any differences to the previous visits?  Well as I said, the menu has been updated which is great.  I do think it is important to keep regular customers (as we are becoming) interested and if the menu has only 5 or 6 main course options it is a good idea to change or develop the dishes over time.  Also this can help keep the menu seasonal too.

We really enjoyed the evening (and so did our friends that were there for the 1st time).  Personally, I found the meal to be a lot more relaxed than on previous visits, perhaps this was because there is no voucher offer at the moment.  The restaurant was certainly a little quieter but the service was superb and as there was no offer we were free to pick our own aperitifs before we were seated.

The evening began in the cocktail bar which already felt very festive.  We sat up the stairs in our own private cosy space and enjoyed cocktails including Thai Mojitos, Banana and Ginger Daiquiri, Strawberry and Rosemary Daiquiri, Ocean Breeze, Bloody Mary and a classic Cosmopolitan.  Drinks as ever were 2for1 on the cocktail menu between 5 and 8 - happy days.  Despite feeling like I had eaten a little after enjoying the Thai Mojito which contained mint leaves and chilli marmalade it was time to declare ourselves dinner-ready.

After being quickly seated and welcomed we browsed the wine list.  As we had already consumed rather a lot for a school night - we felt one bottle between 4 would suffice and opted for an Australian Chardonnay - the name of which escapes me.  I think we had this last time and was delicious (and only £16.95).

Chicken Sausage
I started with Homemade Chicken Sausage.  It was a little like a German White Sausage - in looks at least.  It was very tasty with a balsamic dressing.  Quite filling but that usually isn't a problem for me but if you are a lighter eater then you might find this a bit much.

Belly Pork
For my main I chose Belly Pork.  Now this was fantastic - but again not for the light eater.  The skin was amazingly crispy - perhaps a little too fatty but I suppose it is ok once in a while.  It was served with buttered veg and black pudding ravioli.  The ravioli was a new one on me but was great.  It was finished off with a red wine jus which was lovely, rich and sweet.

King Scallops and Belly Pork
Fran went with the King Scallops and Belly Pork, which (typically) was the most expensive starter on the menu at £7.95 I think.  She tells me the scallops were fantastic but the belly pork was a little too fatty.  We know Belly Pork is expected to be fatty - but there was not much meat below the fat this time.  It came served with a Celeriac Slaw which was beautiful.  The waitress even bought a little bowl of it claiming that it often causes interest and thought we might like an extra portion.  This was duly shared around the table and we all agreed it was great - I think Fran now may be a celeriac convert after previously her dislike (or maybe distrust) of this curious vegetable!

Lamb Rump and Squash
Over to Fran for her thoughts on the main:
The size of the piece of lamb rump was very generous. The meat was tender and tasty, and with a little fat still remaining. The sauce was lovely, as were the butternut squash fries. The tomato confit was the most notable as the herbed tomato flavour exploded in the mouth, very fresh and very flavoursome.

Other dishes of the night were, as previously mentioned, the Pork Wellington and the Duck Breast with Pear. Both of which were substantial and reportedly very tasty.

The only slight concern of the night was that when asking for the Coeliac menu, one item on there definitely was not suitable. Anyone needing to avoid gluten would know to avoid this dish, but it seemed the kitchen staff were concentrating on which dishes contained flour. They did, however, point out a few dishes that normally contain flour, but if we ordered them the chef would leave it out. This obviously proves that pretty much everything is cooked fresh and to order, which actually is rather sadly, a bit of a novelty in recent times.

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