Before we started Lunchquest, MJ and I knew each other for about a year, I guess. For that year, it was largely at the whim of others as to when we bumped in to each other, because we were in the “friends of a friend” zone. If memory serves, it was a trip to Villager that was the first “screw them, we’re off to play on our own” evening. I recount this waffle, because it was at Villager that today’s lunch took place.
Funnily enough, MJ was lunching in nearby Hula, at the same time as I was greeting my companions for the day, John and Etana. John had proclaimed Villager to be his favourite place in the city for coffee, so having a continuing interest in visiting places like that, I was considerably intrigued. Before we got to coffee, though, there was the small matter of sustenance.
The menu offered a very wide selection, catering to a range of tastes and hunger levels. I’ve become a bit of a burger fiend, lately, so was once more lured in by talk of a veggie burger, to which both optional add-ons (mozzarella and pesto) sounded worth trying. This followed a bowl of sweet potato and bacon soup, from a selection of three.
John and Etana both opted for the Moroccan vegetable stew. After enquiring about the exact composition of the dish, Etana asked for it to be “extra brothy”, which was a request they were happy to accommodate. We agreed that we’d get all the dishes to arrive at the same time.
In a matter of moments, our food was with us. My soup had a wonderful aroma, but looked decidedly thin, and so it proved. It was packed with good bacon pieces, but there was precious little sweet potato in evidence. As such, it was a “nearly” dish.
Main courses were decidedly better. The veggie stews were proclaimed to be hearty and healthy, but lacked a little seasoning. In particular, they didn’t have a strong character of Morocco, with a lack of cumin, citrus, or warming aromatics.
My veggie burger was tasty, with a good crunchy shell to it, and a flavour-packed soft bean interior. The accompaniments worked well, and the lightly toasted bun was one of the better ones I’ve eaten of late, both in terms of taste and structural integrity.
We collectively munched our way through the fries, applying our condiments of choice, then rounded things out with coffees, which were good without quite hitting the heights, for me.
So overall, I enjoyed our visit to Villager. I think they’re making a good fist of serving tasty grub in a smart pub setting. There are things that could be improved, but I was left was a very favourable impression. I’d gladly pop back, and would be happy to recommend that you do, too.
Blythe scores Villager
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s questers were: Etana, John, Blythe
We ate: Moroccan vegetable stew (2), bacon and sweet potato soup, veggie burger with mozzarella and pesto, fries
We drank: water, coffees, red wine
We wore: red sweater, blue cardigan, blue suit
Total bill: £48