In 2004, chef Heston Blumenthal purchased the pub and quickly made it famous among foodies and fans of the TV chef alike. This gastro pub has since come to stand on its own and in September this year it was awarded its first Michelin star. Needless to say, we were more then excited to see how Heston's usual molecular gastronomy was to be replaced with traditional British cuisine.
Upon arrival our host for the evening, David, talked us through the variety of cocktails available, their origins and how they are trying to introduce a varied cocktail menu which will incorporate some of Heston's diverse flavour combinations into drinks as well as food.
We decided to try the savoury raspberry drink (£9.50), which was a fusion or raspberry vodka, balsamic vinegar and basil strained over crushed ice (£9.50). The savoury strawberry drupe (£9.50) was far more to my taste and the unexpectedly sweet combination of strawberry, olives and lime juice was divine.
For a starter, I had to give Heston's famed pea and ham soup a try (£7.50). Complete with whole peas and cubes of ham hock, the flavorsome soup was accentuated by its vivid color. My partner had smoked guinea fowl and foie gras terrine with spiced apples (£9.95) the gamey terrine was perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the spiced apple.
We then moved on to try a couple more cocktails: the rhubarb champagne fizz, made with a homemade rhubarb and vanilla compote, Chase rhubarb liqueur and topped with Deutz champagne (£12.50), was delicious and refreshing. My partner tried the Charles Dickens, a sweetened brandy with rum and citrus flavours which was then flamed and strained (£13.50). The cocktail was served in a flask hidden within the centre of a book, which made it even more charming.
Before we knew it our main course had arrived and the five spiced duck breast (£22.50) looked superb; pink meat served with pak choi and a sweet five spice sauce. My partner chose the pure bred Hereford 10oz ribeye steak (£28.95) which was tender and flavoursome, served with a bone marrow sauce and triple cooked chips. We also tried a side dish of parsnips, chesnuts and bacon, a combination we will definitely be repeating at home this Christmas.
For dessert I chose the chocolate wine 'slush' and rich and buttery millionaire shortbread (£7.95), which came with a card detailing the origins of chocolate wine. My partner had rich chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream (£7.25).
The service during our visit was first class and both the host and sommelier for the evening could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable on the dishes, ingredients and drinks available.