Our hosts, and the proprietors, were Nicky and Yvonne, the team behind the Bay Horse and former owners of Soup Kitchen. The evening began with a tour and a cocktail - I went for a Negroni (classic combo of gin, sweet vermouth and campari) and Anna chose the 'Joan Collins' which is essentially a Tom Collins with the addition of muddled grapes and sage. And very nice they were too. Nicky and Yvonne were extremely welcoming and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about showing off the new menu.
The menu has a definite autumnal feel and nowhere was this more evident than in the main courses. The Yorkshire lamb shank, meltingly tender and very hearty, made me imagine fattening up to see out a cold winter. The nutmeg in the gratin dauphinoise and the redcurrant and marsala jus almost sent me forward in time to Christmas.
|Yorkshire lamb shank|
It was nice to see plaice on the menu as I had only just seen Rick Stein extolling its virtues as a fish. The fillet lay on a perfectly cooked potato fondant (sigh of relief, as I've seen many an undercooked one in my time) and was finished with a delicate coriander bisque, asparagus and spring onions. The artichoke risotto, the favourite dish at the press review, was a bit of a let down. It was slightly overcooked and tasted overwhelmingly of tomato and vinegar in my opinion. The crumbed egg yolk that topped it was nonetheless delicious. The consensus was that the Lamb Shank won dish of the evening and is very good value at £15.95 considering how generous the portion is.
The desserts were all extremely moreish, devoured quickly by the bloggers, and will meet with no complaints from me. It would be worth going to Thomas on the strength of the tiramisu alone. Apparently based on one of chefs' family recipes, it is a perfect example of how light delicate a dessert it should be. The lemon tart and tarte tatin were both suitably rich and filling.
The team at Thomas have done well to create a menu which will appeal to everyone and it is certainly pitched very well at this time of year - sensitive to the approaching autumn and the lack of summer. In aesthetic and attitude, they have always tried to stand out from the crowd of bars that pepper the Northern Quarter and the solid food and cocktails are sure to keep customers coming back for more.