Last night I went for dinner with Fran at Public House, a gastropub off Upper St. They serve a £19.50 menu, which gets you 2 courses and a glass of Prosecco. Everything on the a la carte menu is included, even the steak which is a rarity.
To start we both ordered pigeon breast with smoked duck and parsnip puree. The pigeon was lovely, although slightly marred by the fact that the pellet it had been shot with was still embedded in the meat, which I only realised once it was in my mouth. The parsnip puree was pretty bland and overly creamy, but the smoked duck was delicious. A mixed dish!
For my main course I had confit of guineafowl leg and butternut squash. The confit was very good, but was served with a warm, course terrine, which was far too rich. The butternut squash was slightly undercooked, although the thyme it had been roasted with was a nice addition. Fran went for a steak which was awful, to be fair she asked for it to be cooked well done, so it's little wonder it wasn't very nice. However, it was ridiculously chewy and had been cooked on a smokey grill, the taste of which was far too overpowering.
As I didn't eat my starter, I had a dessert as part of the 2 course deal. Fran and I shared a crumble, which was really nice but didn't have nearly enough custard. We also got a cheese board, which was really great; good sized chunks of cheddar, Bree, goats cheese and Stilton served with chutney. My only complaint was that they served it with bread rather than crackers, which just isn't as nice.
The service was very quick, although when we arrived we were the only people eating, but I was a little disappointed an apology wasn't forthcoming when I nearly cracked my tooth on the pellet in my food. The decor is lovely, the huge leather sofas and candlelight make for a very cosy setting, although it is a little bit dark (hence the flash on the photos). The menu is impressive, but the food really wasn't very good. I'd happily go back for a drink, but I wouldn't eat there again, however tempting the menu looks.
Pigeon & duck: