The in-laws and Grandparents (not the Italian ones…the Northerners) were down last weekend
As lovers of jewel-blue seas
^^^ Or rather…Cornwall (where me and the wife actually first met over 20 years ago in the midst of an epic sand castle competition):
Clumps of seaweed getting stuck between your toes
Squabbling seagulls (who steal your ice cream)
And choppy, rough and freezing cold sea
^^^ not to mention the unpredictable weather
What a perfect time to try Rick Stein’s new restaurant in Marlborough.
Now, you’ve probably never met the Northern Grandad…
So before I go on…I want to say that if there’s a problem
He’ll let them know
In a very Nooooooorthern way
In past experiences, I’ve witnessed and heard things like:
‘this Gammon is too salty’
‘HOW MUCH??? There must be a problem???’ (referring to a £5 glass of wine in a hotel)
‘Can I speak to the manager? Right, pour that glass back in the bottle. I’m not paying that.
Anyway, to the meal at Rick Stein’s in Marlborough.
Me and the pregnant wife arrive 15 minutes early (I wonder if the baby will do the same this Christmas?)
And were delightfully greeted by a French guy who took our coats and made us feel very welcome.
With the relaxing music subtly in the background, we ordered some drinks whilst waiting for the rest of the Northerners 😉
Now, we didn’t opt for starters.
Did we even need them?
They came round with bread, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Small dishes of tuna and cannelloni beans in a ‘subtle’ olive oil based (don’t quote me) dressing
^^^ Which were amazing!
Just for the record…
If I was to go again, however…
I would opt for the Mackerel starter!
As you probably know, my wheat allergy means that I’m one fussy customer.
Plus, I’m quite inquisitive
So I ask questions:
From getting an in-depth description of the John Dory (yep, I found Dory!)
To learning the difference between a Pave and a Gnash (do you know?)
And it was great that our waiter had such knowledge on all of the dishes
He was also happy to recommend side dishes that would accompany each ones.
Anyway, I opted for the mild, slightly sweet ‘John Dory’ dish served in a tomato and caper sauce with courgettes.
And to be honest, I’m not much of a fan of white fish.
But the sauce and the soft texture of the fish COMPLETELY transformed this dish.
^^^ Meaning I had to eat slowly and actually really chew and enjoy every mouthful (which meant I was actually mindful of my food, wasn’t rushing around and felt very satisfied afterwards)
The in-laws went for the salt pork belly
Now, you may often associate this with being very fatty
But it looked very ‘meaty’ and if it wasn’t for Rick Steins reputation of being ‘fishy’..
I would’ve opted for that!
The wife went for your traditional fish and chips
It was that bit more special that your traditional fish and chips
Meaty fish (lucky she’s eating for 2 LOL)
and the “crispy on’t outside, fluffy on’t inside chips” <<< that was a Northern accent in writing ;-)
And – finally – the Grandparents both went for Hake
An intense gaze with little to no blinking
Head slightly lowered, with the eyes looking through a lowered brow
^^^ I anticipate that he doesn’t like it
Only to get:
‘Oh WOW, I’ll be coming here again that’s for sure’
‘Do they do breakfast here?’
So Chocolate Pave (how is this different from a Gnash? <<< 4 marks)
Marmalade cheese cake
Sticky toffee pudding
^^^ you get the picture
And once again…
Grandad was asking if they did breakfast…
Now, for some…
Wiping the crumbs between courses
Cleaning your table
Topping your drinks
Engaging in conversation about the food to help you make your choice
May be a bit too much
But for me…
this makes the experience that little bit more special.
I have come across some reviews saying that the meals were served at different times
So perhaps some have had a bad experience and there were teething problems, who knows.
They did run out of the creme brûlée and gave us a FREE dessert as a result
Which to me, confirms everything is made fresh (as you would hope)
What I also loved was the layout.
It was spacious so you didn’t feel on top of each other.
It wasn’t noisy so it was easy to talk to everyone even if we were sat at opposite ends of the table.
Is it expensive?
Well, it was about £30 a head with a drink, main and pudding.
And as Grandad puts it:
‘you get what you pay for’
I mean, you could just go for a main (which do come with some sides already) and get a meal for £15
^^^ Which is about the same you’d pay at Prezzo or Ask, right?
But the service, quality of food, and ambiance just make Rick Stein’s the place to go for those special occasions with the family
So, as a treat, I’d definitely recommend you give it a try.
A thumbs up from me
And a thumbs up from Grandad!
Have you been?