Devoted readers will note that we’ve already reviewed Café Marlayne, almost exactly a year ago. That was, however, their Antigua Street branch, and given that the Thistle Street venue is quite a different experience, I thought it worthy of a separate review of its own.
I was joined today, for a spot of early December merry-making, by Kim, who recently quested to Igg’s, and is a regular quester.
As I ranted, yesterday, I’m seriously disappointed by the Christmas menus of some places, this year, as I think many of them offer very poor value. When booking this lunch, I was delighted to hear that Café Marlayne sticks with their year-round approach to menus and pricing, throughout December.
Their Thistle Street restaurant seats around 30 people in one, cosy dining room. People are quite closely arranged to maximise the space, and packed in they were today, for it was a very busy lunchtime service. Glancing at the menu, and the keenly priced, enticing sounding dishes, gave an indication of what had drawn the crowds.
From a selection of four starter and five main course options, Kim opened with the goat’s cheese salad, then followed with the duck egg omelette. I opted for the lentil and ham hock soup, followed by the trout fillet.
The ever helpful waiting staff managed the room really effectively, and although it was busy, with the hubbub considerable, service felt slick, personal and accurate.
Starters promptly arrived, and looked simple and neat. My soup was packed with flavour, much in the same way as the similar soup I’d had in Wildfire, a few days previously. Kim’s goat’s cheese looked good, too.
Main courses were impressive. Kim’s omelette looked elegant, and my trout fillets, two of them, looked really good. Trout is a real favourite of mine. I vastly prefer it to salmon, and wish I saw more of it on menus. This dish, featuring a simple accompaniment of capers and beurre noisette, made me very happy indeed.
We shared a portion of simply prepared vegetables, between us. These added suitable freshness and crunch.
The low-point of the meal was definitely the espresso, which was not good. Some appropriate care and attention needs to be taken in preparing the coffee, in the future, as this really was a pretty poor effort, and a real let-down in comparison to the rest of the excellence on show.
So overall, Café Marlayne was extremely good. The quality on offer was very high, and the dishes priced very competitively. I’d heartily recommend paying it a visit, either to take advantage of their very sensible approach to December dining (book early, as it’s a popular spot), or at any time throughout the year. The place is a winner.
Blythe scores Café Marlayne
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s questers were: Kim, Blythe
We ate: goat’s cheese salad; lentil and ham hock soup; trout with capers; duck egg omelette
We drank: water, espresso
We wore: classic coat, pink and blue tie
Total bill: £26.80