Tag Archives: Good food

Restaurant Review of The Partridge Inn, Wallingford

Saturday 24 January 2015

Dinner at The Partridge Inn in Wallingford



Bar area as you enter the restaurant. There is a new dresser displaying products from local producers. Matt is keen to encourage use of local produce wherever possible.

We received a warm welcome from the member of staff who took our coats. The fire was lit near the comfy seating in the bar area but we decided to go straight to our table. The menus were presented as we sat down. We decided to have some Prosecco but worth noting they sell small bottles which are equivalent to a glass and a half. They do not serve it by the glass. They do, of course, have full sized bottles! Their wine list contains some interesting choices and will not take you very long to study. A question of quality rather than quantity on the wine list.

My companion had the Smoked Salmon starter which was a generous portion of salmon but it was served with three crackers spread with cream cheese. Not sure if the crackers were sufficient with the quantity of smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese Crackers

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese Crackers

I chose the Baked Feta which again was a generous portion. Two types of breads served to accompany the baked feta and olives. Tasty dressing on the salad.

Baked Feta with Olives, Salad and Bread

Baked Feta with Olives, Salad and Bread

We both then decided to have the special of the day and in fact it was the reason my companion had decided to dine! The Haggis was served with thin slices of black pudding. The leek and onion combination was tasty and the triple cooked chips were crisp and delicious. The food was served with an onion gravy. Not perhaps the usual combination to be served with haggis but Matt, the Chef, likes to work with his ingredients and develop their flavours which he does with success. I understand that Matt is not a formally trained chef but he is passionate about food. His food perhaps lacks a little finesse but it certainly has bags of flavour. The menu changes regularly depending on the foods he has available so it is likely that Game will be on the menu during the relevant season.

Haggis, Black Pudding, Triple Cooked Chips, Kale, PeasLeeks and Onions

Haggis, Black Pudding, Triple Cooked Chips, Kale, Peas, Leeks and Onions

Now desserts are my thing and Matt has a rather short dessert menu but when he chatted to us afterwards he said the Lemon Posset and Chocolate Brownie proved the regular favourites. He had tried crumbles on the menu but they had not been very popular.

I chose the Local Honey Cheesecake with a shortbread base. Good honey flavour in the cheesecake but not sure the shortbread base worked as it was very soft because of being at the bottom of the dish. Personally I would not choose this again.

Honey Cheesecake with Shortbread Base

Honey Cheesecake with Shortbread Base

My companion had the Lemon Posset and I tried a little and was pleasantly surprised at the good flavour.

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset

This was the red wine we decided to have to accompany the haggis. At forty pounds a bottle it was not cheap but it was the perfect choice for our food. The wine had been stored in oak barrels for twelve months but had a soft oakiness that complemented the highly seasoned haggis.

Chateau Le Pey Medoc 2012

Chateau Le Pey Medoc 2012

Matt deserves to do well with his restaurant because he understands the food he uses and he works hard to build up relationships with local suppliers. They now have four bedrooms upstairs available to book. Three of the rooms are not en suite but one is. They provide a continental style breakfast but I get the impression that if you talk to Matt he will try to provide what best meets your requirements. They seem to be proving very popular with the business community. Maybe one of the reasons being that WiFi is provided free and the standard of the rooms is pretty high for a fair price!

Wallingford is very fortunate to have a place like The Partridge Inn. Matt took it over about two years ago.  I am sure that if you visit, Matt and his team will look after you very well. This restaurant has no pretensions and the honest approach to food is refreshing in the days of fine dining and the celebrity chef.


Review of St John’s Place, Hay-on-Wye

St John’s Place, Hay-on-Wye

Saturday 19th July 2014

St. John’s Place

Simple website: http://stjohnsplacehay.tumblr.com/

St John's Place

Entrance to St John's Place

St John's Place

One sultry summer night we entered St. John’s Place in Hay-on-Wye unsure if the reviews on Trip Advisor would live up to expectation.

Menu posted outside

From the moment we arrived, and I should perhaps warn folks that the entrance is indeed somewhat uninspiring, we were given a very warm welcome by the friendly Lorna. The decor is plain and very simple with the exception of the sculptured pig heads on the wall and the sheep’s head on a stick in the window. Fortunately I had my back to them but I am sure they would appeal to some and infact I thought I heard that the Sheep on a stick had already sold!

Our first treat was a Raspberry and Rose Vodka Martini served in a simple glass but tasted delicious and certainly had a certain little kick!

Raspberry and Rose Vodka Martini

Then we decided to share a plate of the Salted Hake Stuffed Olives with Capers and Tarragon

Appetiser - Salted Hake Stuffed Olive

Sadly I forgot to take a photo of our starter as we were blown away by it. Smoked Trout with Tomatoes, Beetroot, Fennel & Horseradish

David’s main course was the Beef Short Rib with Peas, Broad Beans, Smoked Potato and Parsley but the photo does not really do justice to the delightful colour on the plate of the borage flowers, peas and peeled broad beans.

Short Rib of Beef

I decided to have the non meat option. I should perhaps point out at this stage that there were three starter options, three main course options (one fish, one meat and one non meat) and three dessert options.

Red Wine

We chose the Fronton Reserve 2011 Chateau La Colombière wine listed under a very small list of special wines but it was an excellent match for both our dishes


My dish was Crespelle, Courgette, Leek & Curd, Chilli, Oregano and Pine Nut. The vegetables were perfectly cooked still with a crispness but certainly not undercooked. Slight warmth with the spicy notes and the pine nuts added a welcome contrast. The Crespelle was delicious.

photo-4 photo-5

Dessert time!

David had the Beignets with Fennel Sugar and Lemon Curd and I had the Warm Savarin with Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream. We both had a glass of red dessert wine (insert name when I get copy of menu). The flavours and textures of both desserts were superb.

Finally we had coffee and David had a glass of Grappa. I must admit the only thing I would change from the whole evening was serving coffee in glasses with no handles!

Coffee and Grappa time!

There was a real buzz amongst the diners and we exchanged comments with our adjacent diners who all seemed to be equally impressed with the standard of food. The restaurant seats max of 24 diners at one sitting and they are only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm. Booking is pretty much essential.

Chef Julia is very talented and obviously is being very sensible about not over stretching herself and what the very small team at St John’s Place can offer. I gather there were only four of them in the team last night. When I spoke to a somewhat shy Julia after our meal I was taken by her obvious pleasure that her guests had enjoyed her food.

I would love to return and see how Julia developes St John’s Place. The folks of Hay-on-Wye are certainly very lucky to have this relatively new eatery and I hope they will support and encourage Julia and her small team.

NB. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos but I was trying to be discreet and took them with my old iPhone3. Yes, I spend my money on good food and wine instead of upgrading to the latest mobile phone!