I was warmly greeted by my new family – or at least that’s how it felt. The battalion of staff on hand to tend to my every need were the friendliest mob I’ve encountered in all of our quests, so far. With one to take my coat, another to show me to my table, one to magic me some bread rolls, another to take my drink order, another to take my food order, all seamlessly integrated into one overall production line of quality service, I have to say that they ensured that I experienced their stylish restaurant to its best possible advantage.
So, did the chaps in the kitchen match the quality of their front of house colleagues? Well, the short answer is no, but that’s not to say that the food on offer wasn’t without its merits.
From their lunchtime seasonal menu (two courses for £14.50), I chose the roasted pumpkin soup with croutons, followed by the braised Blairgowrie ox cheeks, served with horseradish mash and roasted root vegetables.
The soup arrived promptly and looked very bonnie in its stylish bowl. It was scalding hot (I wouldn’t dare suggest it had been microwaved, but it certainly had been given a very intense blast of heat shortly prior to its arrival at the table), which meant the first few spoonfuls were not the most flavour-packed, but it certainly improved as I made my way through the bowl. The croutons lacked crunch, so just ended up as soggy matter, which was a little disappointing, but the good crusty bread which the roll man had brought me meant I could derive the additional crunchy texture by my own invention.
The ox cheeks arrived quickly thereafter, and looked very neat and tidy. My cutlery supervisor had brought me a sharp steak knife to deal with the meaty goodness. He needn’t have bothered as the beautifully braised meat fell apart at the mere whisper of the word “knife”; just the shadow of the steak knife made it gently quiver then crumble in to chunky morsels.
The sweetness of the horseradish mash gently resolved in to a light nasal heat, and the intense savoury of the meat balanced this well, but the gravy took on a little too much of the sweetness, and things weren’t aided by parsnips and carrots. They were beautifully prepared, but they tipped the balance of the dish to overly sweet for my palette.
A nice espresso with dainty petit fours (a fruit jelly, a little nougat, and a very buttery chocolate caramel) rounded out what had been an enjoyable lunchtime interlude.
Overall, I was impressed by Hadrian’s. The service was spot-on: friendly, attentive, helpful and welcoming. It’s a shame that the food didn’t quite match this level of excellence. Still, I enjoyed my visit and can imagine myself popping back from time to time, not least to see how their seasonal lunch menu evolves over the coming months.
Blythe scores Hadrian’s Brasserie:
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: roasted pumpkin soup, ox cheeks with horseradish mash
I drank: sparkly water, espresso
I wore: Red, white and blue checked www.tieclub.co.uk tie
Total bill: c.£20