I was delighted to see the waiter who served us at Sea Dogs safely re-homed at the mothership. He showed me to our central table, providing a jug of ice water and all our cutlery needs in characteristic fashion. I had a moment to contemplate the place, which is all dark wood with the air of an academic dining room about it.
My fellow quester for the day, Kim, who thoughtfully pointed me in the direction of Ruth Reichl’s excellent Garlic and Sapphires (which I recently reviewed for Total Food Geeks), soon arrived. She took no time to make her choices, as she’d visited previously.The soup of day was tomato and I can report that it was probably the best tomato soup I’ve tasted on my questing adventures, so far. It was of the rustic variety in terms of texture, but kept the flavours clean and fresh. I mopped up the last of it with some of their excellent artisan bread.
Main courses arrived, and I was in the food envy chair, for the second quest in a row. Kim’s black pudding hash, topped with a perfect fried duck egg looked excellent, and the little corner I tried was extremely tasty. My barley risotto was very good, too, with the smokiness of the cheese pervading the dish to make each mouthful richly satisfying.
Kim opted for pudding, with a toffee rice pudding which was reported to be richly creamy. I took a little more of their smoked cheese, accompanied by tangy chutney and home-crafted oatcakes.
The espresso was not to Hula’s peerless standards, but still served to round out what had been an extremely enjoyable lunch.
Having now completed the full set of Dogs, I’m pleased to say that they’re all excellent. Sadly, I think my favourite may well have been Seadogs, but then perhaps that’s me viewing things in an overly nostalgic fashion. Certainly, I’ll be visiting the three remaining outlets on many occasions in the future, so would recommendation that you do, too.
Blythe scores The Dogs
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20
Today’s lunch questers were: Kim, Blythe
We ate: tomato soup, black pudding hash with fried duck egg, smoked cheese and cauliflower barley risotto, toffee rice pudding, cheese board
We drank: water, espresso
We wore: signature coat, stripey socks
Total bill: c.£30