I am sometimes dubious about taking up special offers at restaurants. With Groupon and various other offers bandied around quite often, I have always suspected that you get access to a limited menu, are given smaller portion sizes or are crammed in to an abnormally busy restaurant thereby suffering from below standard service. However, when I saw that Butler’s Wharf Chop House were offering a special menu during January and February, I couldn’t resist trying it out. The deal was £25 for three courses, with a complimentary glass of champagne thrown in. It sounded like a nice way to spend a Friday evening – and indeed it was!
On our arrival we were presented with a table with a fantastic view of Tower Bridge (see cover picture) and a lovely glass of NV Devaux Grande Reserve Brut. Very light, fruity and uncomplicated – a pleasing way to start while we selected our menus, which had plenty of options for us to choose from. I must recognise here the tremendous service that we received from our exceedingly convivial waiter – Oliver. Throughout the evening he was happy to give us his suggestions of what we could take and and they were without exception, excellent.
For my starter I selected the Severn and Wye smoked salmon with horseradish sauce, which was perfect as I was still sipping on my champagne; what better way to start a dinner then smoked salmon and champagne? For my taste I would say that the horseradish sauce could have done with having a tad more oomph to it – as I am a big fan of horseradish, however I was pleased that my aforementioned fears on set menu dining were allayed by the generous portion of smoked salmon I was given.
For the main course, we took Oliver’s recommendation to have the Roast Berkshire Pheasant with turnip gratin, Ballotine of leg and a Madeira sauce. This was a fantastic dish – the highlights were, perhaps surprisingly, the Ballotine of pheasant leg, which was so deliciously moist and succulent and the turnip gratin which was creamy and sweet and proved an excellent accompaniment to the pheasant. To accompany the pheasant I selected a glass of 2010 Delta Vineyard (Malborough, NZ) Pinot Noir. Unfortunately the wine underwhelmed, it was flat and slightly sharp to taste and didn’t really deliver the fruit notes that it promised.
When it came to the sweets, my default choice (as anyone who’s been following this blog for a while would know) would have been to look at the cheeseboard and I was erring towards this until Oliver convinced me to plump for the sticky toffee pudding served with a treacle sauce and a vanilla ice cream. When the pudding came out it was again of substantial size and was juicy, sweet and delicious, with the treacle sauce bringing it all together nicely. To go with the sweet I had a glass of 2010 Clos Dady Sauternes which had wonderful aromas of lychee and honeysuckle. On the mouth it had quite a delicate feel, not overly cloying, with honey flavours coming through. The finish was very pervasive, around 30 seconds.
This was quite simply a lovely dinner, exhibiting great cooking and top quality table service; friendly, knowledgeable and genuine. Coupled with the view we had from our table, this was a great experience and somewhere that I would have no hesitation going back to, even without a special offer!