This nearly ultimate accolade was awarded by that renowned culinary digest “Taste of Staffordshire”, no me neither!
The aforementioned website does actually have a Foodie feel to it, in that it recommends restaurants and other purveyors of top notch grub as well as local delis etc .. add to that, the facts that Taste of Staffordshire’s Patron is no less than Sarah Willingham (you know, her from Raymond Blanc’s the restaurant, the one that looks a bit like Karen Brady if you squint) and it was my Birthday, we couldn’t not eat at 99 Station Street really could we?
So as this was a special occasion and to prevent major stress incidents with Lisa in the Kitchen we opted to don our finest and let someone else do the cooking. If I’m honest I wish I hadn’t
My first restaurant review and it’s full of negativity, well no actually there were some positives
Location : Hard to find, especially as I’d lost the Sat Nav and its situated in what appears to be a converted terrace house. However the location gave it a unique style so that if felt warm, comforting and enveloped you with an overall quality rustic feeling.
Service : Spot on, could not fault it, the waitresses were friendly , extremely helpful and possessed an in depth knowledge of the food and wine available.
Food : Here’s where the disappointment starts
Seared pigeon breast carved onto an onion puff pastry tartlet with chive sour cream and herb rapeseed oil
Verdict: I’d never had Pigeon before and was pleasantly surprised with the taste not too gamey and seasoned well, such a shame it was over cooked and very tough. The little tartlet was nice though and the dressing was also good
Roast rack of Stockley Park lamb with sautéed spinach, rosemary roasted
fondant potato and red wine reduction sauce
Verdict: The Lamb was way too fatty, hardly any meat on the cutlets. OK Lamb is fatty but if your going to serve it make sure the fat is cooked well. Well cooked fat but perfect meat is difficult to achieve and on this occasion they failed. The spinach wasn’t washed properly so it was gritty. The wine reduction was amazing. The Fondant potato was undercooked and almost raw in the middle. The accompanying veg whilst cooked well, was a little uninspiring.
Caramelised Cambridge cream (crème Brule) with sugar biscuits
Verdict: Hard for me to judge as I’d never had this before. That said the initial few tastes were very creamy but I found about halfway through I was struggling and needed the biscuits, which were by the way were excellent, to add some texture and help me finish the dish
Cost: Meal for two including 3 course each and bottle of red wine the bill came to £77.
Overall: It would have been value for money compared to the average restaurant if it wasn’t for the quality of the food which let the whole side down. I’m sure the good people at Taste of Staffordshire knew what they were doing when they handed out the awards and the night we went was a bad day at the office. That said, based on my experience I wouldn’t want to try the 3rd best Brassiere in Staffordshire