Bills Restaurant is slowly becoming one of those places where I end up without really thinking about it. I was fortunate enough to be invited to review back in 2014 which highlighted how good it was and I’ve been many times since as it is in such a good spot with a varied menu to suit most tastes. I was invited back again to try the new winter menu so Charlie and I went along to see what the new additions were like.
Bills have always had a nice shop area at the front of the restaurant but it is nice to see this now being advertised on the tables. My favourite are the red velvet cupcake truffles which I’ll tell you all about at some point.
Unable to fully decide on starters we chose one of the boards to share opting for the veggie board for something a little different. I’m not too keen on the name as, whilst there is no meat in the starter, there aren’t really any vegetables either. The olives were incredible and are something I always order when eating at Bills. They’re huge with a lovely bite yet really quite mild compared to others I’ve tried in the past. Something else present that I regularly order here are the crispy halloumi. They really are crispy with no sogginess whatsoever which so many places get wrong. The sunblushed tomatoes and basil was spot on, a pesto style dip that is light and fragrant, we fought over the last mouthful. The houmous is also pretty good with a good thick consistency and a lovely splash of garlic for a good rounded flavour. I’m not a huge fan of baba ganoush but Charlie happily scooped it up with the grilled piadina bread that is wonderfully crispy providing a good ‘scoop’ for the dips.
Charlie went heavy and perfectly seasonal with the duck pie and, blimey, it was a huge portion! Slow braised duck leg with carrots and pearl barley is rich, hearty and wholesome topped with a buttery mash and a jug of rich gravy on the side meaning you can add as much or as little as you like for your taste. The side of pickled red cabbage was also lovely with a light sweetness yet still a crunchy bite from the vegetables.
I went for the total opposite with the salmon which is pan fried and served on a potato, cheap cialis us parsley and spring onion rosti. The flavours were beautiful with the fresh spring onion and fragrant parsley complimenting the fatty fish well. The portion was a little on the small side for my liking with the salad of watercress, fennel, samphire and orange salad taking centre stage. The salad was lovely with fresh and zesty flavours, it was just not ‘wintery’ enough for me. That said, if you want something light after all that Christmas indulgence, it is a good option to go for.
Opting for a hot chocolate whilst perusing the dessert menu, it reminded me of being wrapped up in a winter coat hiding away from the sales shoppers of a weekend.
I finally got to try the pecan pie which has been sold out most times I’ve asked for it and I can see why. A crispy crust which was slightly charred filled with chunky pecan nuts, its crowning glory was the incredible malted banana ice cream. I find most banana ice creams are just sweet with very little banana flavour but this tasted like a frozen banana that had been mashed. It was really good.
Unfortunately this is where things took a negative spin with the blackberry and caramel apple eton mess. I was so looking forward to it and I thought the wintery spin on a summer classic was genius. Apple and blackberry coulis folded through whipped cream, mascarpone and crushed meringue, blackberries and salted caramel sauce to finish things off. It should have been a taste sensation but something was off, I’m not sure what it was but the whole dish had that sour taste of off milk and, when highlighted to the wait staff, it was whisked away with an apology but no offer of another. I’d have thought it was the cream that were off but surely that would have meant my hot chocolate would have been off too? Either way it would appear the off ingredient couldn’t be substituted and we had to do without, I’ll have to call back in for that though as it sounded so good, I was so disappointed to miss out!
Apart from the dessert mishap we had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The restaurant wasn’t overly busy and I love how I never feel rushed at Bills, no matter how busy they are. I’ll be back for that eton mess in the new year.