Saturday 24 January 2015
Dinner at The Partridge Inn in Wallingford
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.
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.
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.
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.
My companion had the Lemon Posset and I tried a little and was pleasantly surprised at the good flavour.
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.
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.