It’s a bit of an odd sort of place. Presumably originally a pub, most of the fittings remain – from the wooden booths to the large bar that greets you as you enter. I say “greet” but, in truth, it’s a bit off-putting as you don’t know if you’ve walked into a bar or restaurant. Particularly when staff walking past don’t acknowledge you. And particularly when you’re left standing at the bar having been handed menus.
But that’s not the only aspect of La Cachette that’s a bit odd. The other is that, in spite of its name, it isn’t French. Although there are some slightly odd and slightly pretentious nods towards the Gallic - as in calling the very well priced set menu the “menu du soir”. Not that this menu has anything French on it – apart from the “soup du jour”, that is. No, everything there – like almost everything on the main carte - is very much in a modern Brit bistro style. And it was the main menu we ordered from – well, we can get a sixteen quid three courser without having to drive the best part of an hour.
And, even here, there is more of the slight silliness. For example, starters are split into two listings – “dishes to begin” and “signature starters”. And so are mains – “main plates” and “signature mains”. You really do wish they’d get over themselves. And they so easily could, because the dishes really appeal to the reader.
As in a starter (or, as they’d have it, a “dish to begin”) of pigeon and pheasant faggots. Three well flavoured balls of meat, elegantly sat on top of mushy peas and surrounded by a good onion gravy. I liked. My partner also liked hers – onion tart or, as they’d have it, “French onion tart”. Good crisp pastry, oniony filling, a little crisp salad with a good dressing.
Calves liver was still just about “medium”. The accompanying three rashers of dry cured bacon were excellent. Veg were nothing more than a couple of cherry tomatoes. But there were good chips. No, there were actually stunningly good chips. Fried in dripping – proper chips, not the ubiquitous “fat chips”. Crisp but with that hint of floppiness that distinguishes a chip from a fry. A bit oversalted for my taste but I forgive them that. Hells bells, for chips like those, I forgive them all the afore-mentioned silliness.
The other main, one of two specials that evening, was a pan fried halibut loin. It came sat on a bed of artichokes, chorizo and peas. It was a great looking dish and great tasting – except for the slightly overcooked fish which had turned a bit pappy. Shame.
Desserts were underwhelming. Lemon polenta cake was full of citrus flavour but was very, erm, solid. But there was a nice raspberry compote and some Chantilly cream. A home style favourite for me – a slice of rich fruitcake and a slice of Wensleydale. Would have been lovely if the cheese hadn’t been fridge cold. When I mentioned this, there was an immediate apology and no charge made – fair play to them.
Service was fine – up until trying to get the bill and then trying to pay it. Took ages. On the plus side, La Cachette has a decent list of well priced wines, several of them available by the glass or 500ml carafe. I reckon if we were more local, it’d become a regular haunt.