There was a list of tapas, meat, fish, vegetables and salads and also charcuterie. We decided to share two, the lamb merguez – lamb meatballs, olives, chilli, roasted peppers, slow cooked tomato, crème fraîche & sweet chilli was bloody delicious, excuse my French, but it was! We just looked at each other with faces of pure pleasure. We wished we had ordered some bread as the sauce was so good we needed to mop it up. No matter, I had my finger 😉
The belly of pork, squash, bacon & apple compote was really tasty, full of flavour and we made all the right noises whilst eating it. This was equally as good as the lamb meatballs, the fat melted away and the sauce again was so tasty. We were impressed and vowed to return.
Last Friday, the evening before my birthday I revisited Annie Jones with my Italian friends, Catia and Loretta to have a meal in the restaurant. Two courses for £30 and three for £40, so not cheap.
We ordered a bottle of prosecco which came with some really nice old fashioned glasses which we all remarked upon, they reminded us of Babycham.
We were served first with a complimentary wooden board of fresh bread and olives with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I ordered the same starter as one of the tapas I had on my previous visit, the belly of pork. This time it came with a lovely large piece of crackling, yum. It wasn’t as good as the tapas we’d had though, it was still very tasty but it could have done with being cooked for longer on a low heat as it didn’t quite melt in the mouth like last time and was also a little hard to cut. So slightly disappointing seeing as I’d had it before and enjoyed it so much. The rich jus and bacon & apple compote made the dish.
Catia’s beef tartare, wasabi mayo, toast & pickles was presented very nicely with little florets of cauliflower. I had a taste of her dish and it was very nice – even though I don’t normally like wasabi – and Catia enjoyed it very much indeed.
Catia and I both had the fillet of lamb, pomme foam, quinoa & lentils, spring vegetables & wild garlic butter. This again was well presented. The lamb was very tender and lean, the vegetables were cooked nicely and served with a lovely rich jus. I especially liked the quinoa & lentils of which I wish there’d been a bit more of.
Loretta had the pan fried cod with clams, Jersey Royals & warm tartare sauce, fish bonbons. She said it was very nice and fresh. Delizioso.
There was at least one special of the day for each course and for dessert Catia and Loretta decided upon dessert special of the day, lemon sabayon with mascarpone ice cream.
They both liked this but I think they preferred the ice cream the most.
I chose the Textures of Chocolate dessert which consisted of a sort of chocolate brownie, with nuts in the base. It was a little hard to cut through but the centre was softer with a rich chocolate topping. A round ball rolled in chocolate soil which I thought was a truffle but it was very soft and creamy inside, very tasty too. The ice cream was nothing special, just chocolate which I never normally have. I suppose I could have asked for the mascarpone ice-cream had I known. In a shot glass was a lovely light and airy, almost foam-like white chocolate froth with a few white chocolate shavings on top, I loved this. Two large chunks of honeycomb finished the dish off which I left until last and they were fantastic. I must add that I didn’t offer any of my dessert to my friends and they didn’t dare ask. It was all MINE! I can handle sharing other dishes (sometimes) but hardly ever a dessert, especially a chocolate one.
We finished our meals off with an espresso each. When we received the bill a 12% service charge was added. We had a very nice meal and all enjoyed the evening, however we thought that it was a little expensive for what we had and for only £1 extra we could have gone to somewhere like Bistro Montparnasse in Southsea and experienced some fine-dining.
If you phone to book (it always goes to answer machine, but they do call you back), make sure you say you want either the tapas or the restaurant as they are in two different parts. When I rang they presumed I wanted tapas and I had to quickly rectify that.
Would I return? Yes!
Living life, loving cake