Probably 18 months ago Mike and I went to the tavern for food and a drink after the cinema. We sat downstairs and although busy (people were standing quite close to the table) the food came out quickly and the atmosphere was great.
Unfortunately they suffered the effects of two fires and had to re-build their roof.
We were lucky enough to be invited to opening night (24/11/2016), we booked in for the later sitting so we could sort ourselves out before heading over and we wouldn’t be under pressure to move on.
We arrived at about 9 for a 9:15 sitting, waited for a couple of minutes and were then shown to our table upstairs. Please excuse the picture, there were a few cars around so I couldn’t get the whole building in.
I like the decor at the Tavern, I always have. It’s simplistic but cool. Effortlessly mixing stark chunky tables and chairs with bold wall coverings and simple floors and ceilings. It all just works.
Their menu has changed for the latest re-opening and the Tavern has become a burger restaurant. The four of us sat down, ordered a drink and reviewed the menu. It’s simple but seems to have almost everything you’d want or need. Mike mentioned that the French dip was no longer available and it seems it’s coming back in February – if only for a short time.
I ordered the chilli cheese burger, Helen had the crispy chicken burger, and both Mike and Kerry had the falafel burger. Between us we all ordered a couple of sides each, fries, sweet potato fries, calamari, barbecue beans and sticky wings. Helen made a change to her burger (pickles off, avocado on) and we were done.
We were pretty happy, the drinks had arrived, the atmosphere was good, the service was great and we were having fun.
Next was the food. The burgers arrived wrapped up as you can see below and the chips came in bags. I quite liked this, it was a bit of enjoyable. The only problem was that we didn’t get plates, this wasn’t really a problem to start with as opening the burger wrapper and ripping the fries bag was fun. But after the inevitable loss of some sauce or contents of the burger back onto the table what I really would have liked was a plate. It could have matched the trays and would have allowed easier sauce mopping with a chip.
The food was great. The burger was really nice and although before my visit I have started to feel like in general sweet potato fries are losing their appeal these were delicious. They were well seasoned, crispy, and full of flavour. I’d have them again every time.
The only thing I didn’t like was the calamari. The plate was well presented and was an OK portion for the price, they also tasted great, but they were a touch soggy which spoilt it a bit.
The beans were epic if a touch on the small side for £4. Great BBQ flavour with chunks of smoky pork…winner…every…single…time!! The sticky wings were also great, we got 6 sticky honey and soy glaze wings which were really nice. Perhaps a wet wipe would help remove the sticky residue after indulging.
Helen’s burger came out wrong which was a shame, but it was rectified so quickly (a minute) I’m kind of glad as it allowed me to see the service. It was perfect. The guy apologised, took the burger away and bought it back about a minute later with the correct combination of extras. I can only praise that, perfect handling.
After we finished the meal we all felt like we’d had more than enough food. We tried the sides purely to get a better feel for the place but you wouldn’t need as many as we got.
Next was dessert. We hadn’t seen the dessert menu before we got there as it wasn’t online at the time. It’s a nice idea, where they have a pad of sheets which you can tick and write on to hand to the server to order your sundae. It was quite exciting waiting to see how they’d arrive.
When they came they were a touch underwhelming. With 2 small scoops of ice cream and whatever topping and sauce you’d like. I got the peanut butter and salted caramel ice creams with macadamia nut brittle topping. When it came, however nice the ice cream was there were huge chunks of rock-hard caramel and what seemed to be lightly roasted macadamias – neither had ever met as you’d expect in a brittle.
Overall I really enjoyed the food. It was hearty, filling, tasty and the service was fantastic (you’d never have guessed it was opening night). Nothing I have mentioned above would ever stop me going back. I look forward to going again in the near future and trying the crispy chicken burger which Helen almost flat-out refused to let me try (brutal).