Thursday, 3 March 2011

Staffordshire’s 2nd best Brassiere – 99 Station Street, Burton Upon Trent





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


Starters

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

Main

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.

Desert
            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

3 comments:

  1. I think Andrews being rather kind! I had a tower of some kind of Prawn, with smoked salmon in a dill and lemon mayonnaise and broccoli pesto for starters. The pesto was ok, what little there was of it but there was no hint of lemon or dill in the prawn mayo and a complete lack of any other seasoning. It came with three small lettuce leaves - far too little to make it a balanced dish. Luckily there was no actual cooking involved!

    I had the same main as Mr D but from his comments assume he had the better plate. I love my veg but found their offerings on a par with school dinners (albeit undercooked rather than overcooked)

    Dessert was vanilla pancakes with cherry comfit and vanilla ice cream. The pancakes were more like drop scones but chewy, dry and came with a bitter, burnt after-taste (unless that was supposed to be the vanilla part.) The cherry sauce was reminiscent of something I remember from a tin at a great aunts but ok-ish. The only saving grace for the whole meal was the home-made ice cream, which weirdly was the only offering of the whole meal that came with apologies from the chef!

    Maybe I'm being a little harsher that Andrew as I paid the bill but Id rather eat Andrew's food any day of the week and even consider mine to be of better quality.

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  2. As one of the owners of 99 Station Street, I can only apologise for any disappointment, but as you have said, probably a bad day at the office. Occasionally we do get it wrong, it's a consequence of dealing with real food in a live environment, and if possible, always like to make amends. The food is honest at all times, we are very clear on what we offer, where we source and how it is cooked. If we get it wrong, it's up to us to try and get it right the next time.

    I will have a word with chef on the lamb as Stockley Park breed Texel and South Downs. The latter is prone to being more fatty.

    With regards to awards, we have taken 2nd place in brasserie of the year 3 times and got listed as best newcomer in all categories for 2008. Last year we were nominated 1st place in NFU local food champion. For two years we have been listed in the good food guide, out of 4 or less for the whole county. This was on top of some favourable write ups in the press.

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment Stan and was surprised you found the blog let alone the review I'd written.
    Although we felt let down by the food that night you have inspired me to investigate pigeon breast as I'd never had it before and will have a crack at it myself.
    Your prices are very reasonable and your awards were obviously given for a reason. My experience aside its good to see the county has champions of good food and local producers as at times it seems staffs is devoid of culinary excellence.

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