I had meetings at opposite ends of the town, today, so took the opportunity to stop for lunch somewhere in between. Whereas I thought that might be Stockbridge, it ended up being Dublin Street, with a trip to The Magnum, a smart pub on the corner of Albany Street.
The pub is of the traditional variety, with a dark and welcoming air about it. From looking at the menu, which the obliging barman brought across, it was apparent that they were aiming for something a little above the regular pub grub fare.
Their set lunchtime menu offers two courses for £13.95, which also sets the expectations quite high.
From the range of choices, I opted to follow my soup of the day, butternut squash and cumin, with their risotto, which featured brie, cherry tomatoes and red onions.
Soup arrived promptly and looked very bonnie indeed. The bright orange broth was topped with little baby microherbs (were they some sort of baby beetroot or amaranth, perhaps?) The soup had a good texture, and was loaded with cumin, but was a little under-seasoned, which allowed the earthiness of the cumin to dominate too strongly. The earthy beetroot flavour from microherbs didn’t really help matters in this regard, either.
The risotto quickly followed, and again looked very elegant. It had a lot of leaf types dressing it, with more of the microherbs, some parsley, and some fennel fronds. A little more restraint wouldn’t go amiss, as although they added visual delight, the melange of flavours didn’t work together with the dish.
The risotto itself was nicely loose, with good flavour from the tomatoes, and a creaminess from the cheese. The onion were a little too crunchy, but I guess they offered an additional texture element. It was good, but nothing beyond that.
So, the food at The Magnum was a touch vexing. The look of the dishes is impressive, but the execution doesn’t match up. Their offering is quite similar to that at the Bon Vivant, but doesn’t deliver the same quality.
They have a solid commitment to sourcing locally, which is highly commendable, but effort needs to be made to improve the accuracy of the flavour combinations, and the microherb toppings need to be used with far greater delicacy.
Blythe scores The Magnum
3/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: butternut squash and cumin soup, brie, cherry tomato and red onion risotto
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: bright brogues
Total bill: £15.65