For my first Winterlicious this year I chose Corner House. This was my first choice, and got a reservation there for last Saturday evening at 7:30PM. I have not been to corner House before, but the menu seemed extensive (5 choices for starters and mains is good for 'Licious) and I had read good things about the place on here.
When I made the initial reservation I had been told that there would be "several sitting's that night so only had minimal time to eat" which was fine. However, when we arrived at corner House, there was a line up out the door and down the street. I asked somebody why they were waiting and was told that we should tell the greeter we are here, and see what she said. So I tried to find the lady, but she was nowhere to be seen, and it was impossible to actually get in the front door of the restaurant.
Eventually I was told that they were waiting for tables to become available, and irrespective of having a reservation or not, we would have to "wait our turn". This may appear to be a terrible experience so far, however we made the best of it, and everybody seemed to be in good spirit in the line, with nobody argueing or upset, and chatting with strangers seemed to be quite pleasent and made the wait bearable. We didn't get our table for two until around 8:15. The greeter was pleasant throughout, and kept us informed of the wait time for our table once we had got past the front door.
The restaurant itself is 4 small rooms in a converted house...very cute and bistro-ish in style. The waiter and staff were attentive, if a little rushed due to the volume of people, throughout the evening.
I ordered the Baked Goatcheese salad for starters, which was solid, but not spectacular. It was a good size portion though. My colleague ordered the Onion and Cambozola Tart, which was excellent. Perfectly warmed, with a green salad on the side.
For mains we both chose the Talapia. This was also excellent - a nice size portion of fish, with mixed roast root veggies and small bacon pieces adding to the flavour. Our only criticism to this was the lack of supposed Lemon Sauce, which either wasn't there, or had evaporated completely! However, it was tasty and filling. The other mains passing our table also looked good, so the range of choice at Corner House is at least varied to different tastes.
We ordered a bottle of Laroche Viognier rather than going with the recommended R.H Phillips white (which seemed a little dull, and I'm sure its not a great pairing to the food anyway). A nice touch was that a different waiter to ours came out of his way to come ask us about the wine, saying that "its a new bottle to the restaurant". The wine was indeed a good choice.
For dessert we ordered the Chocolate Tart, which was okay, and the Citrus Cheesecase, which was excellent - very light and fluffy, and not stodgy like a New York style Cheescake would be.
Overall, it was a good experience. If you are going this weekend, expect a line up, so don't be overly hungry as you will starve! However, once you are seated, its much more relaxed. As we neared the end of our evening, the crowd had died down, and the pace of the waiters had slowed. We were both full, but not stuffed with food. I'm sure the normal portions at the restaurant are probably bigger, but this was still a good Winterlicious experience.
In my years of winterlicious, this was one of the better, and probably only beaten by Auberge last winter. It was personally a better winterlicious experience than I had at Canoe (even with the wait time)!
So, expect a wait in line, but its worth the wait IMO.
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