The Echo's regular Food Monster is away this week so a new taste tester has stepped in to review the Bottle and Glass in Harby...
I had high expectations ahead of my visit to the Bottle and Glass in Harby as it is owned by the same people behind the Wig and Mitre in Lincoln and Caunton Beck near Newark.
The car park was full when we arrived for our 2.30pm table on a Sunday, showing that it is a popular destination.
On entering the cosy bar area, it was clear the staff were having an extremely busy afternoon. We were served a drink and within just a few minutes we were escorted to the rustic and seasonally decorated restaurant area. It was a shame we couldn't enjoy the heat from the open fire a while longer, because once seated there was a definite chill in the air – so much so that I sat with my coat on for the first half of the meal.
It appeared there was just one person manning the bar with two in the restaurant, who were literally rushed off their feet. We waited for a few minutes before having to ask the extremely busy waiter for a menu and wine list.
It is such a shame as just one more pair of hands would have made all the difference to the hectic pressure the staff were under. They were not inattentive, but simply too busy to attend to everyone's needs when necessary.
We decided to opt for the seasonal winter menu – two courses for £15.50 or three for £19. Some of the specials on the blackboard could also be added in, although the scallops and twice baked cheese souffle were not – much to my disappointment! And just before we were about to order, the roast beef dinner was crossed off the specials board, which had been our preferred option.
However, there was a good selection on the menu so I decided on the duck rillettes, chicory marmalade and toasted brioche to start while my companion went for the black pudding, crispy bacon and hen's egg from the specials board.
We were brought a complimentary board with a few chunks of delicious warm bread, which helped stave off the initial hunger pangs.
I must say I was fairly jealous when the black pudding arrived as it looked absolutely mouth watering and the taste did not disappoint. The pudding itself was full of flavour and the hen's egg added a lovely rich, creaminess. Topped with crispy bacon it was definitely one of the best starter courses I have had the pleasure to taste.
The duck was good and again presented in a very clean, modern way but just lacked that extra bit of va va voom in the taste department.
It was then a fairly long wait for our mains due to our order falling off the order board – however it was starting to warm up a bit and as the evening drew in it was nice to sit and relax with a glass of wine.
We had ordered the Cuvée Wig & Mitre VDP de L'Hérault Rouge at £14.25 a bottle. As described it was soft, smooth and easy drinking.
We were more than ready for our mains when they arrived.
I had gone for fillet of sea trout, crushed potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and Avruga caviar sauce while my companion once again appeared to have chosen the best looking dish with braised short rib of beef, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts and potatoes.
The large piece of sea trout was bursting with flavour and cooked to perfection. And the sauce was delightfully creamy. I do like my vegetables al dente but I did find the broccoli just that little bit too crunchy and the crushed potatoes a little too herby – although my companion on having a taste said he thought it was just the right balance against the fish.
The rib of beef just fell apart and the meat melted in the mouth. Accompanied by a delicious, full bodied sauce (Michel Roux Jnr would have been proud) it really was the star of the table.
Although we both were really quite full, we decided to go for a dessert each due to the £19 for three courses offer.
Unfortunately the menu is unclear as the cheese and biscuits (priced £7.50) is not included despite it being listed. However, on paying the bill the waiter said the issue had been raised previously and fixed the price to suit.
The cheese board came on a slate with a selection of four cheeses, grapes, chutney and crackers. Again the presentation could not be faulted and the quality of the cheese was high.
Our second dessert (as we decided to share the two!) was a chocolate terrine from the specials board. The dense slices of terrine were smooth and rich and perfectly accompanied with chocolate praline ice cream. However, our eyes were really too big for our bellies and we could not eat it all. I was sorely tempted to ask for a doggy bag!
THE DAMAGE: Our bill: Two three course meals from the seasonal menu £38; bottle of Cuvée Wig & Mitre VDP de L‘Hérault Rouge £14.25; coffee with homemade fudge and mints £2.25; pint of lime and soda and bottle of traditional pink lemonade £4.70.
TOTAL: Total: £59.20.
FINAL VERDICT: Some excellent food with chefs who clearly have an eye for presentation.