A big group of us (that was our mistake I suppose) tried to go to Vinoteca last night but there was a two hour wait for a table. We waited a while in hope but even with all that lovely wine to pass the time, two hours is just too long. So we headed down the road to The Larder which had plenty of room. Really, a bit too much room it has a sort of industrial chic, warehouse feel to the place and it is so cavernous that even though it was fairly full it sort of felt empty at the same time. There was much competition in ordering. The people with the salad of seared baby squid with chorizo triumphed. I should have known, it’s a hard combination to beat really: tender calamari and scorched, fiery chorizo with a ginger dressing. I had the picked Devon crab which was served with apple and rocket (pictured). It was served as a little cake of white crab meat on top of pink crab meat. The white crab meat was lovely and delicate, but there was something wrong with the pink crab meat. It just didn’t taste right. We all thought so so we told the waiter who said he would give us some free coffees. He didn’t in the end, but we didn’t mind it was the offer that counted.
My main of fish pie was an absolute treat. It had a fluffy potato topping and inside there were generous servings of fish, mussels and vegetables in a rich creamy sauce. A lot of people ordered the sirloin steak which was served with “heritage potato chips”. I was intrigued as to what a heritage potato chip would be. It turns out that they were absolutely huge, crunchy chips. Very good indeed. The only problem was that the chef had overcooked everyones steak. The medium people were all well done and the rare to medium were medium.
The Larder redeemed itself somewhat with MTV boyfriend’s dessert. He said the creme brulee was excellent. Importantly there was a nice thick coating of caramel on top that gave a satisfying thwack when you hit it with the spoon. The Larder was a bit of a mixed bag really, while some dishes were really well executed there were a few problems with our food. Friendly service didn’t really compensate for the lack of atmosphere in the huge room. I couldn’t help thinking as I left that even with a two hour wait we would have been better off at Vinoteca.