For the third time in a disproportionately short space of time we began a review drenched in liquor – this time a pint of Czech beer with a splosh of tonic. We’re getting a complex people!
Spillage dealt with swiftly and charmingly by the apologetic bar tender, we switched tables and started over. The décor of the bar is stunning, packed with old school glamour in what was once a bank. A tour of the grand old building revealed a beautiful staircase (there is a lift, but we’ve become Fitbit bores so the climb suited), a cool roof terrace, and downstairs a private room with its own bar in the basement. The menu was a simple but lovely thing refreshingly free from nonsense and surprisingly reasonable. Intrigued by the Deli Slate (£12), the other half couldn’t pass it up – a pick of five small dishes from a long list featuring local producers.
Sweet potato and chilli fritters were a triumph with a decent thwack of heat. The beetroot bon bons – our top dish of the night – stood up mightily against some strong meaty flavours. A sizeable duck Scotch egg had an oozing middle with a flavour-packed surround that inspired some Gregg Wallace style praise. Rich, tangy Herefordshire Hop cheese pleased, salted pollock fritters were seriously tasty served with a sweetcorn relish, while cured meat and pickles did what they said on the tin. My main course of fishcakes (£8.50) looked boring by comparison but was actually blooming delicious, generously packed with salmon and its smoked variety, capers and parsley. The tasty patties were served on top of the most pleasing accompanying veg we’ve tasted for ages – warm green bean salad with homemade red pepper pesto. Sounded simple, tasted fantastic. It’s worth noting the homemade Deli Dog (pictured) and the burgers looked damn fine as they wafted out of the kitchen and passed our table. Dessert was a mess – not literally. The Bureau’s take on the classic sweet was definitely one to share for it was enormous and in our book could have done with less cream and more berries. We’re being picky though. We’ve racked our brains but there’s nothing not to like here. Cracking food, fabulous surroundings, great service, a well-stocked bar and proper value for money.