It was almost a year ago, during my first visit to The Great Chase, that I had decided I would start doing restaurant reviews on the blog. I had a good feeling about the place and knew I would want to tell others about it, and this was before I had even tasted the food! Something to note about their menu: it changes regularly; this not only helps them keep things interesting but also showcases ingredients in-season. In addition to all food and drink being halal, our waiter explained the food is also tayyib, this means they consider the welfare of the animals from which they source their meat. The menu is also on the small side, you know; quality rather than quantity.
Unfortunately my desire to blog about the restaurant never came to fruition (until now.) Armed with a crappy camera phone, no amount of lighting or strategic angles could save the quality of the photographs. They were rubbish and I was convinced no one would believe I enjoyed the food if I didn’t have the photographs to back it up. Now almost a year later I visited the restaurant again with friends, this time armed with a better camera.
During my first visit I tried their Tayberry Spritz (I think that’s what it was called … like I said, they regularly change their menu.) It was really refreshing with lots of fruit notes, and my friend had a citrus-y one that was equally nice but I can’t remember the name of that one at all. I chose the duck leg with banana pancakes, maple gravy and apricots as my main … mind blown! It was amazing! I’m not a big meat eater, but I do enjoy duck and it was perfectly cooked. I was a bit unsure about it’s pairing with banana pancakes and apricots because I thought the dish would be too sweet, but it was actually really well balanced and worked wonderfully. In all honestly, this second visit I made was just an excuse to try this dish again … but of course, the menu has changed, and my heart was broken.
I also tried their 4oz beef burger, with smoked cheddar, baby gem lettuce, gherkins, house bbq sauce and fries. My friends also tried the burger, and we all agreed it was hard to make a burger special. It was a good burger, but it didn’t blow my socks off. For dessert, we had a chocolate mousse with hazelnuts and strawberries – a classic combination. The mousse was really light and smooth and I liked the added crunch from the nuts.
This time My Cherry Amour was my drink of choice, while all my friends chose the Elderflower Royale (clearly a popular choice.) It was similar to the Tayberry – both had fruity tones – but this one tasted a bit stronger (even without the alcohol.) There was a maraschino cherry fizzing away at the bottom of my glass, which I didn’t even notice until I had almost finished my drink!
For mains, my friends chose the 4oz beef burger (as pictured above) and a buttermilk fried chicken burger (not pictured), both with skin-on fries. My friend found the chicken burger a bit bland, but it was definitely improved when she loaded on the spicy miso aioli. Other friends chose the sweet potato gnocchi with mushrooms, chilli, pecorino and pecans. Again, they found in order to enjoy the dish you needed to make sure you got a little of everything on your fork so you get all the different flavours and textures. I chose the banana pancakes with labneh, berries, and maple syrup. The banana pancakes tasted different to the ones I had with the duck last time, but still quite good – they were big and fluffy. I loved the berries, but didn’t finish the labneh as I found it a bit too sour.
The restaurant is located just a short walk away from Angel Station. You could call the restaurant small, but I think it’s cute and cosy. I would definitely recommend calling ahead or booking first though to see if they can accommodate you.
The service was first class. The front-of-house and waiter were really friendly, attentive without being intrusive, and made us laugh a lot! During my second visit it was a different team of people, but nonetheless they were equally great. Even when the waiter did spill a drink over my friend, he couldn’t have apologised enough and quickly made her another one!
If you do visit the restaurant I would highly recommend you try one of their more unique dishes you might struggle to find elsewhere (e.g. duck and pancakes (have I mentioned this enough times yet? I’m still not over it.) or the gnocchi.)
Summary: Food – 8.5/10. Service – 10/10. Atmosphere – 8/10.
Restaurant website: http://www.thegreatchase.co.uk/