3rd August 2015 – 7pm
I was invited to Rick’s for a Zomato meet up. This was the first time I got to attend one of these events and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet other bloggers who were just as excited about food as I am. Rick’s recently launched a new menu and we were invited to see it showcased. We were greeted by the manager Andy who told us a little bit about Rick’s and what they offer (as it is not just a restaurant and bar but a boutique hotel). We were given a lovely cocktail to start off the evening . This was quite a delight as it included egg white to make it fluffy and light.
We were taken through to the dining area and talked through the different spaces Rick’s offers. Many of the dining spaces can be closed off the parties which is handy thing to know. The group executive chef Jon Wood, who looks after food for the whole Montpelier’s chain, came had a chat with us and it was clear that he had a passion for food. The knowledge he had about different types of food and the way that he engages and trains his staff really got me intrigued about the type of food I was going to be eating that evening. Jon explained that as a hotel as well as a restaurant, they have to strike the balance between the two markets and therefore is aiming to have a brasserie feel to the menu. We all perused the menu and I think they seem to have hit the mark on where they were aiming but there were also some deals such as their dine out for £10 if your budget couldn’t quite stretch to the main menu. I chose the pig cheeks for my starter. I was originally going to opt for the hake for my main but as they had not got the mussels that it came with I decided to give it a miss, which was a shame but shows that they are not using frozen ingredients and are dependent on availability. Jon has expressed an excitement and knowledge about lamb and this is what I ended up picking for my main. Around the table there are plenty of choices from duck to salmon for starters and chicken to cod for mains.
My pigs cheeks were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe how soft and tender the meat was. The pancetta and onions complemented it well and the potatoes gave it a bit of weight to the dish. The crispy sage was a nice surprise and brought the dish together. I’ll be honest, I scoffed the lot quite quickly. This could have even been a main with a bit of expansion, it stood that well on its own. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their starters around the table.
Onto the mains, the Inverurie lamb which had been built up by the chef was not a disappointment in the slightest. I had been concerned about the goats cheese gnocchi being paired with the lamb but the chef had explained the thinking behind this so I thought I would give it a go and to my surprise it worked perfectly. I couldn’t believe the combination would be a success but the gnocchi blended with the goats cheese so it didn’t become an overpowering element. The pea puree added a nice dimension and I adored the rosemary jus. I did find the greenery on top of this and the starter a little bit pointless, at least in the way it was presented as it was placed on top of the meats on both dishes, hiding the star of each plate. I have to say I think I inhaled this course too.
We were offered desserts and practically the entire table went for salted caramel and chocolate tart with ice cream. Upon arrival, the slice was very slim but it needed to be because it was quite a rich dessert, so much so that it stuck to the spoon often. Saying that it was very tasty but did need the ice cream to balance it out, although chasing ice cream round a flat slate was not ideal and I had to push a bit of ice cream onto the spoon with my finger at one point. @wewantplates again would be having a field day.
After all the food, another cocktail was offered, showcasing their bottled cocktails which are ‘aged’ for several months to develop flavour. Unfortunately I couldn’t drink this one because of the Aperol but I think the others found it really interesting.
The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable at all levels. The food was of a good standard and I would happily recommend Rick’s as somewhere to try.
Overall – 34/40
Cost – whilst complimentary, I estimate it cost around £40 for a three course meal plus two cocktails per person
Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Zomato for arranging.