Ever since the Michael Caines restaurant opened at Abode, there’s been the opportunity for some bargain dining. It might have been the “Amazing Graze” lunch menu (available once again after a lengthy absence) or, as tonight, a three course set menu for just under twenty three quid. As you’d expect on a table d’hote, choices are limited and, at this price, portions are not generous. But portions are adequate, so long as you haven’t brought a voracious appetite with you. And the kitchen demonstrates real skill in getting the best out of cheap ingredients.
And you probably don’t get ingredients much cheaper than beetroot which they turn into a fine starter. There’s different colours and different presentations, from chunks through thin slices to puree. And a wodge of salt baked celeriac, topped with a savoury goats milk ice cream and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. Over the other side of the table, there’s a king prawn and crab tortellino. It's given a vaguely asian spin, topped with shreds of ginger and a dice of grapefruit, and sitting in a lemongrass bisque. It’s nice enough but not a dish to set the world alight.
As with the starters, there’s a choice of three mains – a fishy something or other that neither of us fancied and a couple of dishes that we did. Shallot “tarte fine” was a disc of crisp pastry topped with some long cooked shallots. In turn, they were topped with a mushroom duxelles and a scattering of roasted root veg. Really nice and the sort of dish that you might try to replicate at home, In fact, we will try to replicate at home. Breast of lamb had been boned, rolled and braised to unctuous tenderness. It sat on a truffle risotto that, as far as I could tell, might have been waved vaguely in the direction of a truffle but that was all. But it was a decent risotto. For texture contast, a few deep fried crisps of Jerusalem artichoke.
On to dessert. Sticky toffee pudding was a decent representation, although I wasn’t keen on the ice cream that came with it. Floating islands is another classic dessert – decent meringue, hiding some poached new season rhubarb and surrounded by custard.
Coffee was excellent. Petits fours were just not very nice.