Game Night at The Marlborough Tavern
If you’ve read my previous piece on The Marlborough Tavern, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of their themed menus – read all about their Seafood Night here – so when I saw that they were planning a Game Night menu for the Great Bath Feast, I knew straightaway that I wanted to try it. On offer were four courses, expertly matched with either an ale or a wine flight, so naturally, in the interest of a fully rounded review, I chose the wine and my dining companion the ale.
We started out with an amuse-bouche of chive soup and lemon crème fraiche, served with either a glass of Ninkasi from the Wild Beer Co, or a glass of prosecco. I absolutely loved the chive soup, which to me seemed like everything pea soup should be but usually isn’t – it was fresh and rich at the same time, and gloriously packed with flavour. Although I never say no to a glass of prosecco, I did also try the Ninkasi which I loved – tangy and citrusy, and beautifully warming because of its strength (a whopping 9%).
Next up was the starter, the first game course of the evening – pan-roasted partridge breast and a quail scotch egg, with celeriac puree, fig, and a partridge jus, served with half a pint of Derail Ale from Box Steam Brewery, or Spee Wah Sauvignon Semillon, an Australian white. A perfectly cooked scotch egg, with a velvety yolk and tender meat, is a beautiful thing, and I wasn’t disappointed by the Marlborough Tavern’s efforts. The partridge was also delicious, especially with the celeriac, fig and a little beetroot. However, I have to say the stand-out for me in this course was the wine – it had a fabulous thyme flavour to it that was totally unexpected, but exquisite with the food. My only criticism of this course would be that the partridge jus was too dark and bitter – I loved everything else.
By now we were starting to get behind with our drinks (this can often be the problem with menus that have a different drink for each course – who drinks that fast?) so we had to request a little break before the main. When we were ready to bravely soldier on, we were presented with roasted venison loin, braised venison shoulder, blackberry puree, celeriac and potato fritter, autumn vegetables and a chocolate jus, washed down with either a pint of Piston Broke from Box Steam Brewery, or a glass of Madfish Cabernet Sauvignon, an Australian red. I wasn’t a fan of the beer, I must admit, but that was fine because I loved the wine – I’m definitely a red rather than a white wine drinker, and this was perfect; velvety and fruity. The main course was also delicious – my favourite out of all four courses. The venison shoulder was meltingly tender, and the celeriac fritter was scrumptious (and reminded me a little of one of my favourite things – Yorkshire pudding). The vegetables had been lavished with care and attention and so were absolutely delicious, and the chocolate jus, although subtle, worked really well. Special mention must also go to the parsnip crisps on top, which I could have eaten all over again.
Throughout, the portion sizes were perfectly judged, so as we approached the dessert course, we were feeling pleasantly satisfied but not too full to enjoy it. Warm malt loaf, poached figs, honey and almond ice cream and a sesame seed tuile were served with either Funnel Blower from Box Steam Brewery or a little glass of Maury, a French fortified red wine. To be completely honest, this was probably my least favourite course – I loved the ice cream and the malt loaf, but the poached figs and their liquid were much too bitter, and my dining companion wasn’t terribly keen on the ale either. However, I absolutely loved the Maury, something I’ve tried before at the Marlborough Tavern – gorgeously fruity and warming, the perfect thing for a cold winter’s evening.
All in all, this was a fabulous evening – some seriously good food expertly matched with seriously good drink. I highly recommend that you keep an eye on the Marlborough Tavern for future themed menu events, or if you can’t wait that long, pop in and enjoy their excellent regular menu in the perfect cosy surroundings.
Images Copyright Sal Godfrey / Sal’s Kitchen