Wednesday, October 21, 2009

not so 'top'table and the menu review

Saturday was a dreadful night. We were full and busy. 13 in at 7.00 then 20 at 7.30 and a couple of twos after that. Prep was done, adrenaline flowing and a telephone call. The 7.00 was now 7.30, 33 at 7.30, all hell was going to break loose and then it didn’t. I went out and explained to the tables that service might be a little staccato but that we’d do our best but there was a problem. Our table of 13 had booked through toptable and had been informed that we’d do more meat dishes, some steak or chicken. As you may, or may not, be aware, we do what we do. If I can cook something else from what I’ve got, I’ll try to accommodate but meat we do not keep. Twenty minutes later and they had disappeared and so had our full restaurant. Unfortunately so had the adrenaline and the low was low. Even writing this now, having had a very poor night’s sleep, I’m still pretty low. I’ve just asked toptable to remove us from their web site (out of all the restaurant booking sites they are alone in charging the restaurant) because of this mis-information and if you check us out on there now you may well be mis-informed about a book twice get one free promotion that we aren’t involved in. (writing is supposed to be cathartic but I’m winding myself up something rotten at the moment.) So goodbye to toptable and by association to messrs Rhodes and ferguson, you shall not be missed.

The review.

Menu is pretty good if a little hard on the stove, with pans being sent hither and zither.

Chakalaka has been the best selling starter by a mile and I think this may be because it has the best name. chakalaka sounds cool when you say it (or type it) and it is a really nice dish if you like sweet and hot crunchy veg. the beetroot is sweet and delicious and the laksa needs no selling because it is wonderful.

Of the mains the star has been the meatballs. These are made with a mix of herbs, Cajun spices, chickpeas, kidney beans and wheat gluten, mushed up and rolled into balls. They make a very nice burger too. The polenta is still stunning and we’ve had many requests for the recipe but my favourite is probably the dal and if you look closely you’ll see me eating my way through the bottom of the pan at the end of the night. Most probably I’ll have the super-size spoon stuck in.

We don’t sell much fruit; the pear has been ok but the most popular dessert, as always, is the sticky toffee pudding. One day, soon, I’ll put the recipe for that and the fudge cake up on the web. The fudge cake is not going to be secret for that long anyway because I’ll be demonstrating it at the cowbridge food festival on Sunday, along with a few other dishes. I’ll probably do the chocolate ravioli as well, which got off to an ok start but the pasta could have been thinner. By Friday everything was cool except for the amount of vanilla in the rav dough, by tomorrow all should be well. Let’s hope so because we are pretty full.



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