It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re sick of going to the same self-service carvery your parents used to take you too. All those sad shrivelled vegetables and large cardboard ‘yorkies’ filled with lumpy gravy. A quick scan of Google produces a multitude of choice, and purely for location to begin with, I clicked onto ‘The Village’.
The website is smart and instantly gives the impression that they offer much more than your standard meat and two veg dinner usually on the Sunday menu. To make life easier, you can book online straight from the website. There was only one slot left when I booked so this gave me another confidence boost in choosing the right place. Busy = Popular. Popular = Good (hopefully!)
After a quick glance at the electronic menu, I was sold! There are alternative menus specifically for those with intolerances. Top-marks so far!
You walk through the door and instantly feel at ease. The décor has a vintage twist and there’s character popping from every corner. The only things missing were waiting staff in braces and barmen in bowler hats. Maybe there’s an idea…
A quick glance around the room gave me a good indication of the clientele. The room was full of all types of people. It’s suitable for families, friends, and couples… There are sections for large groups, seating at the bar, café area and intimate tables. Depending on the day and the time, the atmosphere changes and the purpose of the restaurant changes too I imagine. Friday night drinks after work, first stop on a bar crawl, Sunday lunch stop with the family. It seems to cover all ground.
Once seated, a cheerful member of staff handed us clipboard menus and took a drinks order. Hot chocolate in jam-jars and tea in cute patterned cups. Great touch! Even a piece of homemade cake on the saucers to start off the feast.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of choices we picked off the menu that the kitchen didn’t have; roast beef lunches and the steamed mussels. Apologies were given and we changed the order. To begin, the homemade chunky hummus w/ balsamic glaze and fresh pitta was by far the most delicious starter. Each dish was well presented with generous portions. I ordered the whitebait along with 2 others in my party. They were perfectly cooked and beautifully crispy. The pate was velvety with just enough to satisfy until the main course. We didn’t have to wait too long either as it came promptly considering how busy they were.
During the wait, I found myself raising my voice to be heard over the music. Saturday night before heading for drinks, or a quiet Sunday lunch with family? Hmm. We all gathered around one side of the table like campers huddling for warmth. It made dinner more intimate but the noise levels weren’t very appropriate for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch.
A second lot of drinks were ordered and the main attraction arrived. 3 waiting staff served a table of 6, but not once during the meal were we approached asked if everything was ok. The steaks came first piled high with delicious looking huge onion rings. I’d order the steak just for those! Both meals were requested to be cooked ‘medium’ but came out ‘rare’. Not an issue for the people eating them, but they were not cooked how asked.
I chose The Village because of the Sunday Lunch option and sadly I was left disappointed. As were the other 2 people in my group who ordered them. A great selection of vegetables were served in bowls for the middle of the table, which I cannot fault. It was the meat that let the meal down. The chicken was completely dry and overcooked. My partner had to leave over half of it. Even the gravy couldn’t save it. The pork was a slight improvement but still chewy and flavourless. A member of staff who we assumed to be the floor manager was flagged down and my partner gave some feedback on his meal. A quick uninterested sorry was given before she scurried off to carry on what she was doing. This left my rather annoyed at the service after such a good start.
It seems as though the regular everyday menu is much more practiced and I advise meals to be chosen from that. The goats cheese tart was full of flavour and received high praise.
Overall, I believe top marks could be rewarded if a little more attention was paid to small details.
I will visit again as I think a second chance is deserved and I can see the potential. Next time, I’ll visit on a Friday or Saturday evening for dessert (they looked simply delicious) and drinks as I think this will be when the bar thrives.
Price – Reasonable (Roughly £110 for 6 people – Starters and mains)
Service – 6 out of 10
Atmosphere – 7 out of 10
Food – 7/8 out of 10
TOTAL – 20/21 out of 30