February 21, 2012 City Centre, seafood, soup 3 Comments

Outside on Rose Street

MJ’s Verdict
I must say it: I had really high hopes for the Mussel Inn over on Rose Street. After a busy day of discussing the finer points of Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, I was hungry and ready to get some mussel-filled joy.  It was disconcerting that I was the last to arrive, since I am usually quite early, but I managed to squeeze myself around tables to get to our back booth where B and a few others were waiting on me with patience. (The tables were packed so tightly I almost hit another customer in the head with my bag as I had to raise it to get through)

Very shortly after I arrived, we placed our orders, all opting to stick with the 2 course lunch menu and each choosing a different kind of mussel bowl. The idea of Moroccan mussels intrigued me and I ordered that, a salad, and a bottle of sparkly water.

inside is a tad cramped, but mirrors make it feel larger

Soon, B’s obligatory soup arrived and we watched as he tucked into it. Before long, our mains came from the kitchen hot and fresh. The spices in my mussel bowl smelled delicious and I tucked in with gusto. There was a wee kick of chili, cumin, garlic, ginger, and coriander, and the overall effect was a lovely flavour, if a little too little liquid at the bottom.

While the flavour was good, the mussels were a bit wee. So I went for the very pretty salad that came with my mussels. It was pretty, but sadly, tasted of nothing. The dressing only added a layer of goo, that didn’t sit well with me, and I hate to say that this is one of the few salads in my life that I didn’t want to try to finish.

Moroccan Mussels

So, back to the mussels. I didn’t have a go at the bread (which seemed of the soft baguette variety), but I finished off my mussels and bottle of water and was good to go, but then there was the bugbear about where the waitress had gone when we wanted our bill. After a few minutes of trying to catch her eye, we did get the bill and head back to our respective jobs, and it was a nice lunch over all. That being said, I don’t see myself returning to the Mussel Inn, and am kind of sad that I can no longer keep it in my mind as the holy grail of mussel places.

chips and bread

Wendy’s Verdict
I thought that the Mussel Inn offered a great priced lunch option, but the service maybe let them down a little, particularly the long wait for the bill.

You can read all about Wendy’s “Bespoke Cuisine with Bite” at www.insideoutchef.com


Jemma’s Verdict
I had visited the Mussel Inn to partake of their lunch menu a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it; so when Lunch Quest invited me along with them I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately I didn’t quite have the same joyful experience as the time before: this time the service was slow and my mussels were quite small (and rather a few of the shells were empty).

However, the bread was nice and fresh and the chips were piping hot and deliciously crispy. I chose the shallot sauce which was thick, garlicky and creamy: exactly what I needed since I had an awful cold.

I reckon the slow service and wee mussels could be blamed on the fact that the restaurant was ridiculously busy, with no chance of getting a table unless you booked.

I believe the lunch menu proves a very good deal: but I was baffled by the fact that the waitress took her sweet time bringing the bill. If people are in at lunchtime during the week, it’s pretty likely that they are on a tight schedule

Lots of other lovely reviews and articles from Jemma can be found at www.jemmaeatworld.com

Mexican Mussels

Blythe’s Verdict
It’s always nice to end the working week with a Friday quest, so I was delighted to be meeting Wendy, Jemma and MJ for lunch at the Mussel Inn.

In a remarkable twist I was first to arrive, so was shown to our corner booth table by one of the pleasant and efficient waiting staff, and left with the lunch and main a la carte menus to consider. I was soon joined by Jemma, then Wendy, and finally MJ.

Poor quality soupy soup

What to have at a place called the Mussel Inn? Well, the mussels, of course, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try their soup of the day, which was leek and potato. I was the only one partaking of a starter, as everyone else sensibly opted for the £7.50 lunchtime deal option, which gave you your choice of mussels with either chips or salad, as well as a drink of your choice.

As it turned out, I should have just gone with that too, as my soup wasn’t good. It was dramatically under-seasoned, unpleasantly greasy, and way too thin. It was a poor quality dish that made me very sad inside.

My mussels were much better. The little blighters were well prepared and plump, although as others have said some were a little small. I’d opted to go for the blue cheese sauce, which was creamy but lacked that blue cheese tang that I love so much. It was way too subtle, with the usually big and bold flavour of the cheese reduced to naught but a background whisper.

Blue cheese mussels

There’s no doubt that the Mussel Inn can prepare a good bowl of mussels. It’s an extremely popular place, as was evidenced by the lively and diverse crowd packed in for a busy lunchtime service, but I was pretty underwhelmed by the quality, particularly of the soup. So, by all means pay it a visit, but be sure to stick just to the mussels.

Blythe scores the Mussel Inn:
2/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 11/20

MJ scores the Mussel Inn:
1.5/5 for food
2/5 for presentation
2.5/5 for service
2.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 8.5/20

Today’s questers were: Miriam, Jemma, Wendy, Blythe

We ate: leek and potato soup, mussels (Moroccan, Mexican, Shallot, Blue Cheese), chips, salad, and bread

We drank: sparkly water, white wine, coffees

We wore: House of Vera Designs by Eleni jewellery, a sunny top and matching disposition, stylish boots, pinstripes

Square Meal

Mussel Inn on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR