I think you can usually tell you've found the right place to eat when there's a queue outside the door a good 30 minutes before it opens.
I found a phrase on their website that, for me, sums up what this place it all about. "Come as you are", they want you to feel comfortable, relaxed and at home. Next to couples on date night, dressed up in all there glamorous clothes, you have guys in t-shirts and shorts, sipping local beers and having a catch up over some great food. They want it to be a place for every occasion and that's exactly what it is.
We've heard a lot about 'the bachelor farmer' like how they use only local suppliers and they grow their own produce on the roof of the building! We get led to the bar which is first come first serve, a beautiful solid chunk of marble surrounding 2 guys flipping cocktails and looking very suave, I have unfortunately forgotten my ID but with a mix of health insurance,rail cards and a smile we manage to get Steve a local draft beer called 'sweet child of vine, a dark, fruity ale which goes down a treat. The bartender even gives us a free sample of a beer that's his personal favourite, (another local Minneapolis beer) which was a golden, session ale. Not quite as good as the one we had chosen but it's little touches like this that make you feel very welcome.
Whilst we were looking over the menu we were handed a little bowl of homegrown radishes with a rich, nutty bernaise type sauce to nibble on. On its own, the sauce would have been a bit too rich but along with the heat of the radishes, it worked really well.
We had a very hard time choosing what to order from the seasonal menu so we decided on just ordering a selection of things and sharing.
Out first was local courgette, roasted down until it was deeply golden, topped with a light squash and tomato salsa and served with flaked, smoked rainbow trout, tossed in some chives and creme fraiche (this gave me inspiration for a smoked trout potato salad dish I'm gonna make when we're back home) all finished off with lightly pickled cucumber and red onion. A very well balanced dish!
Next came a dish off the "Toasts" section of the menu. We didn't really know what to except with this because the menu just said "sweet corn, broccoli, pickled peppers, roasted ham & aioli" but when it arrived it put a huge smile on my face. A big bowl of buttery & lightly salted, sweet corn deliciousness! We later found out that it was actually a mixture of half blended and half whole kernels mixed with a bit of aioli, giving it a creamed corn texture. Mixing aioli into things is completely new to me, because I mostly use it as a dip but I'm going to be mixing it into everything from now on!
Our last main of pork meatballs, lightly browned and set on some wild rice with steamed green beans, was just terrifically juicy, you have to be ambitious to serve meatballs without a thick flavoursome sauce as they can really lose their moisture but these guys were right to take the risk, a creamy, yoghurt and oregano dip, complimented the pork and there were an even number of meatballs so extra points!
Rubbing butter on a Yorkshire Pudding is not something I would ever think of doing but when it's sweetened with honey, I will gladly scoop the butter up and just use the 'Popover' ( US term) as a spoon! Never using standard butter again. Although I think it should come with a health warning as I could eat it like ice cream.
Sadly, we had to share dessert but I noticed they were giving out homemade biscuits with the bill so I felt ok about it, the lemon chiffon cake was a first time experience and it was so light! The sponge was similar to a Genoese and served with shelled pistachios and a thick, zesty lemon curd, the presentation was beautiful and a perfect end to the meal.
Had to mention the bathrooms. At the end of the meal you're given a notebook to give any comments, they then take these comments and post them all the way down the corridor of the bathrooms, there were some really lovely messages and I know it must be wonderful for the staff to walk past each day and really feel proud of the service and food they are providing for their customers..good call.
Now off to see some sculptures G&S xxx