22nd February 2017 6.30pm
I had been disappointed that a diary clash meant I couldn’t make it along to the Taisteal launch. I was even jealous by the time I saw photos and reviews from fellow foodies appearing. So Taisteal (meaning journey or travel), was bumped up my list. Situated in Stockbridge, the restaurant was a little quiet but on a Wednesday night for a newly opened premises it is to be expected. The atmosphere was relaxing and the décor was soothing. We were given some popcorn whilst we perused the menus. I was saddened to see that the sweetbreads I had seen on a previous menu were no longer there but that’s what happens with a menu that tries to stay fresh. On the plus side, that meant I could delve into the phenomenally excellent value early evening menu. £10 for two courses is not to be scoffed at, particularly with this standard of food. I went for the venison tartare to start, followed by hake. My two dining companions went for the tartare and pork belly with jambalaya and the soup of the day also followed by the pork.
We were given warm bread with a dill butter whilst we waited for our starters. Bonus points for the butter being soft! The starters, when brought to the table, were beautifully presented. The venison tartare glistened under a showering of black and white sesame seeds. Unusually for a tartare, it was interspersed with olives but this was a pleasant combination. Accompanied by a gin mayo and some toasted bread, this was a delicate but punchy starter. My friend who opted for the soup had a delicious bowl of carrot and star anise soup which came with a spring roll. She really enjoyed the flavour of the soup and the roll elevated it. We were all very satisfied with this course.
The mains looked equally as stunning. My hake sat atop two small potato fondants, which I thought might be too heavy but were far from it. The hake was cooked to perfection. The plate was also scattered with mussels and golden raisins, the latter of which I was uncertain about upon ordering but again was pleased to see how its sweetness brought another level to the dish. They also worked well with the curried cauliflower which I thought was exceptional. The whole dish was brought together by a delightful sauce. My friends who were tucking into the pork belly and jambalaya were also enjoying their dish. It was vibrant and the slow roasted pork belly was done well.
We decided to go for two desserts between the three of us. I had chosen a lemongrass parfait with honeycomb and honey ice cream. The other dessert was a passion fruit mousse with a mojito sorbet. The parfait was silky smooth and surprisingly light. It’s coating added plenty of texture and the flavour was beautiful. The ice cream was velvety and worked well with the other flavours. The mousse on the other side of the table was a little more like a cheesecake as it was sat on a base. The passion fruit flavour was very subtle and overpowered a little by the wonderfully in your face sorbet.The little meringues on top were delightful though.
We enjoyed our visit to Taisteal and look for reward to trying more delights as they start to establish themselves.
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 10/10
Overall – 34.5/40
Would I eat here again? Oh yes!
Cost £38 for three starters, three mains and two desserts