Sunday, 23 January 2011

The night of the exploding ketchup at Butlers Wharf Chop House

Booking a table for four on a Friday night at Butlers Wharf Chop House was surprisingly easy and I even managed to book the three courses for £20 "Best of British Menu", so I was expecting it to be pretty quiet in there. I couldn't have been more wrong: the place was packed making for a very vibrant and enjoyable Friday night atmosphere.

The service was up to the usual high D&D level that I've now realised is standard across the whole portfolio. The food was pretty good too.


Chef's homemade black pudding, ham hock hash, Hen's egg

Very peppery black pudding and a fantastic poached egg. I could have eaten a bucket load of the hash (just wish I'd asked what was in it and I was having too good a time to think about it).

Baked Jerusalem artichoke and salsify hot pot, fried duck egg
Given this was the vegetarian main, I was intrigues as to what the hotpot was going to be. Turned out it was just a gratin. Quite disappointing really. And I do hate it when the veg are not cooked through. In this sort of dish the veg should melt not crunch. The salad was a very welcome accompaniment to break the tedium.

Traditional beer battered fish & chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce

I had a little pang of food envy when the fish and chips arrived for J & K. The fish was lovely: huge white flakes of flesh in a crisp batter. The half dozen of so chips were huge and OK. We all agreed, however, that the jars where and chip cage were a little over the top, a touch passée and even a little pretentious now. However, this was countered with the appearance of a bottle of Heinz ketchup on the table.

The ketchup was an integral part of what was possibly one of the funniest events I have ever experienced in a restaurant. As is customary, J gave the new bottle of ketchup a firm shake. As her arms started to rise for a second shake, the contents of the bottle made a decision to make a break for freedom. The next thing I remember is K & I shaking with laughter at he sight of J's ample bosom newly decorated with an abstract red pattern. The scene was only exacerbated by the excellent maître d' proffering a clutch of moist napkins but not actually managing to help clear the mess due to the hypnotic effect of J vigorously stroking her chest.

Traditional English trifle
My trifle was excellent. The custard was fresh and soft rather than set and a sprinkling of caramel added a fantastic crunch. I was enjoying it so much I completely forgot to take a picture until it was half gone. However, the nature of the bowl meant that there was rather an overwhelming amount of custard and cream and not quite enough fruit to cut through it. Still that's a minor grumble and purely a function of the serving vessel.

Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce, clotted cream

K & J both enjoyed their sticky toffee pudding, but declared it a touch too rich.

All in all a great night. Good English food at a bargain price. I must return there during the summer so I can enjoy a table outside overlooking the river. That's pretty much the only improvement to be had.

Butlers Wharf Chop House on Urbanspoon

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