As Greg will confirm I spent many hours reading reviews of places I may never go and pouring over menus selecting dishes I’ll probably never eat. It’s the same when I’m invited to a restaurant. I’ll do some research by reading previous reviews to get a feel for the place. So, when I was invited to Bentley’s, I did some research and found overwhelmingly positive feedback about the food and service. One referred to the ‘wacky’ interior which had my interest! On arrival instead of ‘wacky’ interior I found a beautifully designed restaurant reminiscent of a dining room in a Scottish castle I’d been to many years ago. Wonderful heavy leather chairs, crisp table cloths, candles, roses and a fantastic open kitchen. The restaurant probably only seats 30-40 people which makes it feel cosy, I loved it.
We were given a warm welcome, shown to our table and handed menus. It was so tough to choose a starter!
I opted for the lobster cocktail (I have recently discovered a love of seafood) and Greg chose crab cakes. Whilst waiting for our starters we were brought an amuse bouche. A deep fried oyster with a ‘volcano sauce’ which was absolutely delicious and the sauce got our taste buds singing!
Shortly afterwards our starters arrived. My lobster cocktail was outstanding. Tender chunks of lobster with sweet mango and creamy avocado in a light citrus mayonnaise. It is by far one of the nicest dishes I’ve eaten this year and I’d go back for that dish alone. I was sad when it ended. Greg’s crab cakes were equally good. Light, fine, crispy breadcrumbs with a subtle crab flavour and a wonderfully sharp creme fraiche. A perfect start.
When we ordered our mains we both opted for steak and I asked what the most popular choice was. We were told the wagyu tenderloin was the most popular so I chose that and, for comparison, Greg chose the USDA prime graded.
When the steaks arrived they were very well presented, cooked medium rare as requested and seasoned. The vegetables were lovely and crunchy and the hash brown was a perfect accompaniment along with the onion rings in a tempura style batter. We tried each other’s steaks and I felt the wagyu was a little sweeter and, as expected, had more marbelling than the USDA Prime but both were fantastic.
Firstly were brought a dessert teaser. A little shot glass filled with sweet berries and a white chocolate and whiskey sauce. I was a little reluctant to try this as I detest whiskey but Greg assured me it wasn’t too strong. He was right. It was a lovely sweet shot of tart berries and creamy chocolate which, even if you don’t like dessert, was a nice sweet way to end the meal.
We decided to share the molten chocolate cake which, when it arrived, lived up to its name. Rich chocolate, liquid fondant filling with a simple vanilla ice cream to cut through the richness. Definitely a dish to choose if you love chocolate!
By now we were happily full and had enjoyed a lovely evening. The staff throughout the evening were superb, they were friendly and informative. We went on a Monday night and about 1/3 of the tables were occupied. I watched closely at the food and service other tables were receiving and the table next to us described their meal as ‘outstanding’ and ‘absolutely delicious’ and on another table the waitress spent a few minutes talking through the different grades of beef to two gentleman diners who were not able to read the menu well. It was clear we weren’t getting special treatment.
I do have two pieces of constructive feedback. Firstly, it would be nice to have the rolls in the bread basket warm, however this is only my personal preference. Secondly, as mentioned, I loved the interior of the restaurant but it would be nice if the blinds on the windows which overlook the restaurants downstairs were fully closed to maintain the cosiness of Bentley’s. Two very minor things. Overall I’d really recommend Bentley’s for date night, a meal with family and friends or colleagues.
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