Friday, 12 July 2013

Anniversary Dinner at Ubiquitous Chip - Review

On our anniversary we went out for dinner to Ubiquitous Chip.  I was so excited to eat here after hearing so many wonderful things about it, yet we'd never been.  We received a voucher for Nik's birthday so decided to use it to celebrate before our holiday.  Initial impressions were great and the surroundings were beautiful.

To be honest, it ended up being a bit of a mixed bag.  We'd decided to book the brasserie on the mezzanine (we'd had a lovely rich meal the week before at Hotel du Vin) rather than the posher downstairs area.  This may have been a mistake.

I wasn't overly keen on anything on the menu and was initially just going to have the steak until I spotted the stovies (£3.45) as a side option.  Steak AND stovies is a bit much even for me so I decided to order the hake (£13.95) instead (plus £23.95 is rather expensive for rump steak & chips).  For my starter I chose the crab (£6.95), Nik had the mussels (£6.95) and chicken thighs (£13.95).

We ordered some prosecco to toast our anniversary and our starters arrived.  My crab was a bit of a splodgy mess decorated with strips of celery, seaweed crispy wafer things and marigold petals.  It was quite tasty but much better once I added some seasoning.  I also asked for some bread to eat with it as it wasn't very satisfying on it's own.

Nik's mussels were served in a smoky Chip 71 broth.  They were very smoky so not to my taste at all but he enjoyed them.

Our mains were much better, Nik's chicken thighs were very tasty and tender, the granola was interesting and the smoked potato was very nice.

My hake was also delicious with a lovely crispy skin, delicious anchovy sand, spinach puree and borlotti beans.  The dulse seaweed added an interesting flavour but was pretty tough to chew.

The stovies were amazing, so flavoursome with a big chunk of tender beef in with the wonderfully stewed carrots, potatoes and leeks with a little dollop of sweet sauce on top (possibly homemade brown sauce?).  We also enjoyed a carafe of Argentinian Malbec which was on special.  (£14 for 500ml.)

Dessert was also lovely, I had the lemon posset (£5.45), a favourite I haven't had in a long while and Nik had the strawberry soup (£5.45).

The strawberry soup was really nice and had three little floating meringues, elderflower espuma and basil tapioca.  I loved the basil tapioca with the sweet soup. The textures were great but I found the meringues and espuma a bit too sweet with the already sweet soup.

My lemon posset was very smooth and tangy with little blobs of raspberry gel to balance out the citrus flavour.  It came with creme fraiche ice cream which was an ideal contrast to the tart, sweet posset.

The surroundings were lovely and even though it was a Wednesday night it was very busy.  I think there were quite a few people in celebrating graduation.  I loved the entrance with it's sort of mystical garden quality and the light, bright mezzanine with ocean themed batik prints on the walls.

Unfortunately after dinner, our evening went downhill.  We decided to head to the bar for a drink before heading home as Nik said it had a reputation as a great bar.  I'd perused the cocktail menu upstairs so ordered a mojito while Nik had a ginger beer with lime.  I was really looking forward to it, especially after watching the barman make it, taste it, look contemplative, add more mint and bash it about a bit more before tasting again then adding the soda.

It tasted of mint.  Nothing else.  Just mint.  It was awful, hands down the worst mojito I've ever had.  Nik's really good at making them but even I could do better than this.  I'm not sure if he forgot the lime completely but I couldn't see any amongst the bushels of mint.  There were also quite a few grey/black bits of mint obvious as well, you know when it goes off and dries out.  Nik fished the bits of lime out of his drink and squeezing them into mine made it somewhat more mojito-like but I barely drank any.  When leaving, we took it back to the bar to complain and were met with attitude.  The barman said it just goes black because it's been bashed in the glass and showed us the mint from the fridge.  It's never gone black when we've bashed it, dark green yes, but not grey/black.  When Nik then said it just didn't taste good and we didn't like it, the response was OK, that's fine, no problem.  He didn't care at all, no offer of an alternative drink, no offer of a refund, not even an apology that we didn't like it.  It is a problem.  In fact, it ruined the end of Nik's night so much that although we just left, we went back in to ask for the manager.  Not to complain about the drink, that wasn't what upset us, it was the way our complaint was dealt with.  We explained to the manager that we'd had a lovely evening and liked our meal but explained what happened and that the bartender had ruined the end of our night with his reaction.  The manager apologised and agreed that is not the way we should have been treated.  Nik was satisfied with this and we left again.

I was quite happy as when we went back in, we passed Lily Cole as she was leaving.  She was wearing a beautiful dark green maxi dress which I complimented, of course!  She's extremely pretty in real life too and had very long, elegant fingers.  (Weird thing to notice but she was holding the door open for her companion!)  :)  Turns out she was in town to receive an honorary degree.  Nik had no clue who she was but was suitably impressed after googling her when we returned home.

Overall, our experience was a good one, the staff upstairs were lovely, attentive but not annoying.  The atmosphere was great and the food was generally nice but I think we need to return trying some other dishes maybe in a different season before I decide if I really like the place.  It was a shame it ended on such a sour note.

Ubiquitous Chip on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So glad the manager apologised as that does not sound on! Glad you enjoyed the rest of the evening too - and that you got to see Lily Cole - that is pretty cool!

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