Sunday Lunch At The Town Green Brasserie
Let’s be honest here, your average Sunday lunch menu often consists of favourites (I use the term favourites loosely) that are as cost-effective as possible for the restaurant and can be whipped up by the kitchen in a matter of minutes. So when I came across a three-course Sunday menu that has both imagination and variation – and for an austerity-crunching £18.50 – I was pleasantly surprised.
The potted ham is accompanied by pineapple ketchup, the black pudding fritters lay on a bed of pear and endive salad while the spicy crab and brandy bisque with rarebit on toast was a delicious start to our meal. These are refined classics, with a few curveballs thrown in every now and again just to keep diners on their toes.
I opted for something from the specials because to be quite frank, when the very charming waiter read them out, we were bowled over by the choice. Our waiter chuckled at the dilemma he had just presented to us, agreed it was a tough decision and slipped off.
Eventually I decided on the Vietnamese summer spring rolls; yes it's the healthy option, I have been meaning to make them at home myself but struggle to find the rice wraps at my local supermarket. I followed up with the Moroccan spiced lamb from the specials again, while my dinner date plumped for the roast chicken.
We had a third guest with us and when I proceeded to order for him, although quite capable of expressing his own dining preferences, we were informed that kids eat free on a Sunday and if we really wanted to let our hair down, it's also two for one on cocktails! If I lived within walking distance I would have taken him up on that, to be sure.
Our starters arrived in very good time and I must say I was thrilled with the spring rolls. Zingy and fresh, the ginger and chilli dipping sauce was a perfect accompaniment, although a tad more would have been nice as the portions are generous. Stuffed with soft rice noodles and fresh vegetables, I loved them. My partner’s crab bisque was luscious and smooth; the rarebit on toast was an additional creamy treat, fresh bread would have complemented the bisque just as well.
The little man had chosen pitta bread and freshly made hummus and tzatziki dips. I thought this was a really nice children’s starter, given the fact that a lot of kids’ menus don't have starters at all. My dining partner had a cheeky glass of Rioja. He knows a bit about wine and remarked that this was a very good quality Rioja 'by the glass' meaning most of the time the better wines are only available by the bottle. But according to him this one was very quaffable, in real talk this means he fancied a bottle but we were driving...
While awaiting our mains I decided that The Town Green really does feel like a French Brasserie. Inside there are proper cafe chairs, thick dark wooden tables, a beautiful central bar complete with chequerboard flooring and elegant mirrors adorning the walls. I had visions of the place full of stylish Parisians with their dogs sitting neatly underneath the tables while their owners sipped on glasses of Bordeaux. Our mains arrived and I was swiftly transported back to Ormskirk, about to tuck into a plate of Moroccan spiced lamb. But before that I had to persuade our pint-sized guest to sit still and eat his very crisply battered fish bites, chips and peas.
He did kick up a fuss, but the cute waitress came over and asked him what he would like for dessert once he had finished. The thought of mini-marshmallows and ice cream with a cone on top soon put a stop to his tantrum - the timing was perfect. Thank You!
This gave me a chance to savour my lamb and steal mouthfuls of the absolutely gigantic roast dinner that had just been placed in front of us. We now realised why the two ladies sitting next to us left with smiles and parcels of silver foil. The roast is a triumph, it would satisfy the most voracious of appetites, the chicken is lovely and moist the veggies are fresh and vibrant while the Yorkshire pudding light and fluffy. It's an excellent roast.
I requested my Moroccan lamb rare and indeed it was, presented on a bed of soft new potato interspersed with caramelized vegetables. The dish nodded towards Marrakech just enough so that I wasn’t overcome by my memories of heavily spiced souks, bartering and wily snake charmers looking for the next photo opportunity. I very quickly cut through the tender lamb and devoured the lot before my partner had even made a dint in his Yorkshire pudding.
Our taste buds had travelled to Vietnam, Greece and Morocco and returned to Blighty in little less than an hour, this was more than expected on a Sunday afternoon.
It goes without saying that dessert is always the main event when children are at the table, so it’s safe to say our pint-sized critic had already negotiated the finale, a course ago.
Following a proper roast, the syrup sponge and custard is a no brainer and that’s exactly what was ordered. Again when our desserts arrived our jaws dropped at the sheer size of the sponge and custard. I just had to dive in…I scooped a golden mound of vanilla speckled cream onto my spoon and was instantly transported to my childhood – only better. This ain’t school dinners; it’s refined classic British cooking at its best.
Meanwhile the youngster was silent… not a peep out of him. I suspect the marshmallows and ice cream topped with a cone, presented in separate bowls had been devised to keep little minds occupied and it works. He was totally engrossed in constructing the perfect ice-cream.
Thankful for this, I focused on my chocolate pot. For me it was the highlight of the meal. It’s a gorgeously decadent pot of ganache laced with cherries. I could have eaten two.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
To be honest I have eaten in other Seafood Pub Company restaurants; each has an individual feel and no two menus are ever the same and always reflect the freshest seasonal produce available. So I already knew I wouldn't be disappointed in terms of quality however I was truly stunned by the amazing value of the Sunday Classics Menu – three very good sized courses for just £18.50. In many restaurants, the Sunday roast costs this alone. But more importantly, the concise menu has a good mix of traditional dishes, complemented with interesting twists, like the potted ham hock with a pineapple ketchup.
The Town Green Brasserie certainly offers exceptional value for money. Free children’s meals are one of the best ways of attracting families to restaurants. In this case the children’s meals are made from the best quality ingredients, there are three courses available and what’s more the offer is on every day of the week between 5pm and 7pm as are the two for one cocktails.
It has a lovely relaxed feel, the central bar is beautifully crafted and the larger tables are perfect for family get-togethers and celebrations with children. I would certainly recommend the Town Green to a friend, suggesting they visit on a Sunday at first, to sample the magnificent roast dinner!
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Written by Natasha Dervish