It’s not too often that purely reading a menu gets me salivating and excited anymore, but in the case of Albion this was certainly the case. Fellow blogger Bacon on the Beech helpfully replied to a request for suggestions of places to eat in this area of the country and boy I am glad I took up this recommendation.
The set up at Albion is simple, with wooden tables and chairs, but the addition of some quirky bits and pieces such as the exposed brickwork in places and candles on each table give it a great feel. It was quiet when we went for lunch, only a couple of other tables in, but we enjoyed the peaceful ambience
The concept of the food seems to be ‘old classics’, but these are certainly done with brilliant modern bang up to date execution. I loved the inclusion of the dates of origination of each dish too. You can tell they have really put a lot of thought into the place, trying to keep the theme throughout, obvious by things such as the drinks list offering things like pints of bitter shandy served in glass tankards, and old school fizzy drinks like Fentimans Curiosity Cola.
We happily sipped our shandies whilst eating some Pork Dustings which were scratchings of excellent quality, and came with a selection of flavoured salts for ‘dusting’ (sage & onion, beetroot & nutmeg and beef) as well as some sticky relish.
We were then presented with a little extra course to get the party started; monkfish with home-made black pudding and tartar sauce. The black pudding was excellent – and great to hear they make it themselves.
To start with I chose the Coronation ‘Road’ potted chicken, coconut mayonnaise, pickled carrots, mustard cress, a great balance of sharp and sweet and a lovely imaginative starter. Topped with a slither of crispy chicken skin and I was a happy girl. Lee went for the Corned bully beef hash, homemade brown sauce, roast beetroots. Again the flavours of this were a hit but with it came the tiniest criticism (and probably the only criticism of the whole meal) it was a tad burnt on the bottom.
Mains included the Colonial ‘7 boy’ chicken curry – 7 accompaniments, roast onion basmati rice for the other half and Slow braised beef shin, crispy potato, balmoral sauce, shredded bacon for me. The presentation of the curry, with it’s 7 little perfect accompaniments (pickled carrots, chillies, curried peanuts, sweet limes, toasted coconut, sultanas and banana) on a little bit of driftwood was fantastic presentation, and I’m told they all really enhanced the curry. My shin was perfectly cooked and I could have licked the sauce off the plate (I restrained myself)
We were absolutely stuffed, but as the food had been so good we really wanted to try a pud too, so we went for one to share – ‘Poor Knights of Windsor’, hot sherry jam, hokey pokey cinder toffee. Not the kind of thing I’d usually pick off a menu but the cinder toffee drew me to it. I had no idea really what this was, so a quick google while it was cooking revealed poors knights of windsor is white bread soaked in milk and spices then fried, so a bit like french toast. To me the bread had an almost pancake like texture (gorgeous!) and the hot jam was a delight. Lovely gooey mouthfuls and Lee went from saying that he couldn’t possibly manage even one spoon of pudding to demolishing most of it before I had chance to pick up my spoon! A successful pud then.
Albion really impressed me that day and is one of those places that really gets me upset that I don’t live closer and know I won’t be able to re visit for a while. So those of you up in the North West – you lucky little people, get visiting!
Disclosure: We paid for our meal in full, all opinions as always are our own