14th December 2016 2pm

We had our Christmas lunch booked here with a very reasonable deal. Around 20 of us piled into Sylvesters and whilst a small restaurant, only took up half the space. We had all pre-ordered our food but included in the price was an amuse bouche. These turned out to be mozzarella balls. A nice gooey mozzarella was encased in a lovely breadcrumb. This was a pleasant start to the meal.

I had chosen rabbit ravioli for my starter. This was a decent sized portion for a starter. The rabbit inside was generous and tasted lovely. The ravioli had walnuts, tomatoes and salad leaves on top, with truffle oil. These added great texture but I think the walnuts overpowered the dish a little bit as this was the lasting taste I had, which was a shame as otherwise it was quite a nice plate of food. Around the table, my colleagues had Pickerings gin cured salmon and seared mackerel dishes. The salmon was accompanied by a tonic jelly and sourdough. The mackerel came with beetroot and watercress. Both dishes were positively received.

I had sea bass for my main. This was pistachio encrusted and was served with Provençal vegetables and basil oil. The fish generally was good, albeit perhaps a touch overdone at one end. The crust was delicious and worked incredibly well. The vegetables were gorgeous. The basil oil, combined with some balsamic vinegar really gave it depth. I cleared the plate. My colleagues on my table also had salmon with mash, wilted greens and a champagne veloute and pork with potatoes, carrots and a cider jus. Again all these went down well and all plates were cleaned. On one of the other tables there was turkey. This came with a potato rosti but some felt that was too big. There was also a mushroom risotto, which for one veggie diner who didn’t like mushrooms was turned into a beetroot risotto. This went down well.

I had lemon panna cotta tart for dessert, which came with a lime sorbet. The lemon in the tart was very strong but quite enjoyable. It didn’t resemble panna cotta though. The tart case was good but perhaps a bit thick around the edge. The sorbet was zingy and fresh. Some colleagues had opted for a bread and butter pudding. This had a mixed reaction. Some people really liked it (and one virtually inhaled it) but the another really didn’t enjoy it and left half of it. Another option was a chocolate, caramel and sea salt brownie and for those that chose this enjoyed it, even if it was quite rich.

Overall, Sylvester’s did well for a Christmas meal and is one of the better ones I have had. There was enough choice for everyone and they were flexible for dietary requirements. I think it has piqued my interest enough to try it again in the new year.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere- 8/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, I think so

Cost – festive menu £20 per head for lunch.

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