Michael’s Steak and Seafood Bar

8th December 2015 6pm

http://michaelsteak.co.uk/

Michael's Steak and Seafood Bar

Michael’s Steak and Seafood Bar

In the former site of Bar Rioja and Iggs (and possibly the Mussel and Steak bar for a brief amount of time) Michael Neave has opened a new restaurant. I already love Michael Neave’s Kitchen and Whisky Bar (I must do a visit for a blog post at some point) so when I heard he was behind this place I had to give it a whirl.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated in blues and light wood and also has a fancy glass feature in the floor. There are also lovely booths to section off parts of the dining space, so the dining experience is spacious yet cosy. Lovely staff got us started with drinks – although we were not offered tap water. I went with still water whilst my friend went for wine. As you would expect, the menu covers steak and seafood. However, I reckon there is less seafood on there than would be expected. Not that it mattered as there was still some choice. I wanted to try both meat and seafood elements, so went for highland venison carpaccio followed by a kilo of mussels and a side of fries. My friend chose smoked haddock and saffron potato terrine and a beef and oyster pie.

Firstly, the starters. My venison had great flavour and the meat was incredibly soft. A light seasoning on the meat made the most of the taste. The accompanying potato and radish salad, whilst full of chive, missed a bit of seasoning but was pleasant. The drizzle of balsamic glaze was the only thing that gave the dish a bit of sparkle. Other side of the table the terrine was enjoyed and the smokiness came through well.

We had a little wait for our mains. I was given a side bowl with hot water and a lemon for my mussels, which was good to see but there was a long wait after that before the food actually appeared. Mussels good (apologies for the duff photo but I am just proving I had them!). The mussels were plentiful and juicy. The sauce I had chosen for them a shallot, white wine and garlic cream. Unusually, this lacked acidity of something such as lemon but strangely this was still yummy. The side of fries was a good call as they were gorgeous, crispy and had good flavour. On the other side of table the pie looked fab. It was hot with plenty of meat. The carrots were also good. However, my friend felt the mash a bit too cold in comparison with the pie , which took the shone off the dish.

We plumped for desserts. I went for a chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet. My dining companion chose vanilla panna cotta with a berry soup and shortbread. The mousse was very rich but the sorbet and fruit helped cut through it, which resulted in a deliciously moreish dish. The two miniscule blobs of coulis seems superfluous though. The panna cotta was lacking wobble but other than, tasted good. The fruit soup and shortbread also were of a good standard.

I found that they were a bit slow to take our dessert order and clear our plates afterwards but overall it was a nice enough experience. I did find the restaurant lacked the buzz found in Michael Neave’s Kitchen and there was nothing good enough to wow me to go out of my way to come back, but everything was decent enough.

Food – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 29/40

Cost £63 for 2 x 3 courses, bottle still water and a glass of red wine

Michael's Steak and Seafood Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ondine

1st April 2015 6.00pm

www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk

Ondine is situated on George IV Bridge but could easily be missed as it is a first floor restaurant and only has a small doorway at ground level. If you do manage to venture in, you will find the restaurant to be a mosaic of monochrome and elegant with it. The dining room has a circular appearance with the oyster bar at its centre. You can opt to have a table at the bar or on the main floor of the restaurant. We had decided to have a standard table when we booked and were placed at the window with a nice view over Victoria Street.

Ondine offers both an a la carte and a set menu. We opted for the a la carte menu. They do offer some great platters on this menu but we went for the traditional starter/main/dessert combo. I went for the steak tartare, followed by the grilled lemon sole and finished with the apple and toffee crumble tart. My dining companion went for the fish and shellfish soup, followed by deep fried haddock and chips and then the lemon posset. When ordering, I was given the choice of having my fish on or off the bone (I went for off). My friend was given the choice of having her haddock battered or in breadcrumb (she went for batter). We were given a selection of bread whilst we waited. There was brown and white but also a delightful little cheesy bread ball each. They were definitely the best of the breads, slightly warmed and exploding in your mouth with a beautiful cheese flavour.

Steak Tartare (top) and fish and shellfish soup (bottom) - Ondine

Steak Tartare (top) and fish and shellfish soup (bottom) – Ondine

Onto the starters. Those of you who have read some of my other reviews will know that I like to try steak tartare wherever I can, even if that means ordering it in a seafood speciality restaurant. This stacked up pretty well. The portion was a decent size. I think I would have liked my egg a little larger but that is personal preference. There was plenty of zing inside the tartare and it was seasoned perfectly. It came with toasted sourdough, which looked greasy on first inspection but was actually surprisingly crisp. On the other side of the table I think she had gone to heaven. She was not only saying this was the best fish soup she had ever had but the best soup she had tasted full stop. This was high praise indeed. It was not luke-warm and was a generous portion (perhaps a little large for a starter but that didn’t stop her!). There were decent sized croutons served separately with cheese and rouille. She felt it was good to have to option of having this in the soup or not.

Grilled lemon sole (top), haddock and chips (bottom) - Ondine

Grilled lemon sole (top), haddock and chips (bottom) – Ondine

My main was grilled lemon sole and looked pretty on the plate. It came with cockles, which I had never tried before. I enjoyed them and though they had a good taste of the sea without losing its own flavour. The fish itself was big and meaty. Perhaps a bit more meaty that I was expecting. It has a good crust from grilling and was packed with flavour. The dish was also scattered with chorizo which, whilst packed with flavour, also seemed overly salty for my palate, so much so that the dish became too salty for me to cope with and I couldn’t finish it, which was a shame. My dining partner enjoyed the fish and chips. You can tell the quality of the restaurant by whether they give you muslin over the lemon so you don’t get seeds in your dinner. The battered haddock was a large size but was spoilt a bit by being placed directly onto the pea puree, as it made the batter soggy underneath. The chips were thin and crispy. I pinched a few and can confirm they were pretty amazing.

Apple and toffee crumble tart - Ondine

Apple and toffee crumble tart – Ondine

We weren’t sure we could face dessert as we were so full but gave it a good go anyway. The tart was nice and the apple had not turned into mush and was still identifiable. It was tainted a little by the nuts in the topping, which I felt were a bit too bitter for the dish and knocked away the delicate spicing of the fruit. It came with a small jug of custard which I thought was a bit too thin for such a robust pudding but was nice nevertheless. The posset was tasty and tangy with little meringues dotted on top. The lemon curd was sharp and tangy.

Overall this was a solid dining experience. The staff were efficient and kept their distance. The venue itself had a nice atmosphere and decent music in the background. The food was ok in general, which a couple of highlights that stood out.

Food – 7/10

Service – 8/10

Atmosphere – 9/10

Value – 7/10

Overall – 31/40

Cost – £89 for two three course meals and 1 glass of wine.