Tonight was my third visit to The Priory, the premises formerly known as Cuba Norte, but the first time I’d tried their food. Previous visits had seen me sample from their good range of cocktails, which were prepared with a good deal of care and attention. I was hopeful that this would be echoed in the approach from the kitchen, and to an extent it was.
I was joined, this evening, by Iain, who has been a guest quester on many occasions, most recently at The Hanging Bat.
Just across the road from The Atelier, the interior of The Priory maintains the same essential fabric as previous incarnations, but has been given a nicely understated refit. It feels quite settled and established already, which is a neat trick for a new place.
Service is pretty good, with smiling and efficient staff. Sometimes things get a little gummed-up when a big cocktail order comes in, but they generally find a way to keep things ticking along.
Their menu is quite diverse and upscale. Burgers start at a tenner, there’s a nice selection of seafood options, and two risottos. I was quite taken by their side dishes, and genuinely suggested just ordering all of them, as a little platter of sharing dishes. In the end we settled upon burgers, with Iain opting for the beef, while I chose the lamb. I added a couple of sides, with the haggis and duck egg bonbon and the truffled chips (in addition to the fries that came as a standard accompaniment to the burgers).
Dishes were promptly with us, presented quite neatly. The fries were excellent, and rather better than the truffled chips. The haggis bonbon, which I would have called a haggis Scotch egg, was really impressive. The zingy mint and citrus dip with my burger was delightful, too.
The burgers were a little disappointing, though, with the old “way too lean” spectre looming once more. Iain was happy with his beef version, but it didn’t float my boat, and my lamb was just a bit underwhelming.
I’ve started using burgers as a “test dish” for places, a little too much, so think I’ll be steering clear of them for a while, as I’m starting to feel in a bit of a rut. I’ve found some really good ones, and I’ve found plenty of ordinary ones. The pursuit of burger excellence can, for now, go on the back burner.
So overall, there was plenty to admire about The Priory’s food. The burgers aside, I really enjoyed what they had to offer. I think the menu could be pared down a bit, and the prices feel a little too high, but they’re starting from a good standard, so have the opportunity to improve as they go. It’s well worth a visit, I reckon.
Blythe scores The Priory
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s questers were: Iain, Blythe
We ate: lamb burger, beef burger, truffled chips, haggis and duck egg bonbon
We drank: merlot
We wore: the Periodic table, brown boots
Total bill: c.£36