We were recently invited along to The Village Kitchen in Whitchurch for a meal. We had never been before and I have heard mixed reviews but it was definitely on my list of places to go if for nothing more than how lovely it looked from the outside. I love the simple, modern presentation, it always looks very welcoming.
As you enter, the bar is directly to your right and we were welcomed there and shown to a seat where we were promptly introduced to our waiter, Alex. Alex gave us menus and asked if we would like drinks and bread and olives before coming back to take our food orders.
Unsure what to order, we asked Alex what would go with our wine choices and he went to the kitchen to ask the chef and came back with his recommendations which was very helpful. Following this, we were then offered the option of trying a selection of starters and mains as they realised we were the reviewers. We thought this would be a good way to sample the menu and accepted. When writing a review, we usually prefer to remain ‘undercover’ but as we couldn’t on this occasion, I observed how other diners were treated and the food they were served and it was all very consistent and not just for our benefit and the service was good before they realised who we were.
To start, we were given the homemade fish cakes and spicy chicken wings. I was going to choose the fishcakes anyway so I was happy with this! I always think fish cakes are a good way to judge a restaurant as they can vary hugely in terms of fish content and consistency. I’m happy to report that these were very good ones. They were fresh, soft and fluffy and had a good fish content. Very nice indeed. Although I’m not a fan of chicken wings, these ones were moist and tender and were marinated in a lovely sauce.
For the taste of the mains we started with a salmon dish. To be honest, I usually skip over salmon on a menu, I usually think of it as a boring option but after this, I will start being more open-minded. This one was beautiful and by far the nicest dish I tried! The salmon was well cooked and was served in a delicious mushroom and sea food sauce. The sauce had a real depth of flavour and a hearty amount of fish (prawns, calamari and mussels). I really enjoyed it and in fact I ate far too much, forgetting I still had the duck to try.
Salmon in mushroom and seafood sauce
The duck was served on a bed of celeriac mash with a selection of vegetables and an orange and plum sauce. The duck was cooked nicely and I couldn’t get enough of the celeriac mash (one of my favourites!) The vegetables were al dente which is very important to Ben, who takes an over cooked carrot very seriously! The sauce was nice although I could taste more orange than plum. The only complaint I would have if I was being very picky is that the skin on the duck could have been crispier and the overall consistency of the dish was rather ‘soft’ with the duck cut into slices and placed on the mash. As much as I enjoyed the celeriac mash, I think the dish needed to have a crunchier texture.
Duck in orange and plum sauce
By the time it came to desert we were seriously stuffed but a selection were bought over on a tray which I thought was a nice touch and persuaded us to indulge. Ben chose the strawberry fool which was seriously refreshing and a great choice after a heavy meal. I chose chocolate mousse which was nice but quite dense.
Overall, The Village Kitchen is a really nice place to eat. It’s stylish and modern yet still has a homely feel. The decor at the back of the restaurant makes you feel like you’re having dinner at a friends house. Staff are friendly and there is a lovely laid back atmosphere. Prices are very reasonable with starters at £5-£6 and mains at £8-£14 unless you have steak. I would definitely go back.
My Last Mouthful was: The salmon in mushroom and seafood sauce
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