Three Choices For All Three Courses With Wine

and all for £50 a couple - it seemed rude not to book a table!
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The August offer on the newsletter enticed us to join some friends to celebrate a good if somewhat soggy summer at The Phoenix on the Lower Richmond Road.

It was a great excuse to try different dishes which were also on the main menu - forcing my husband away from his age old favourite the Vincigrassi Maceratesi (an 18th century recipe).

The four of us settled in to choosing from the menu with our Bombay Gin & Tonics (£5.50) - generous in flavour but don't forget these were not included in the deal.

Three of the party opted for chicken and ginger meat balls with a lime mayonnaise, these were delicately flavoured whilst the fourth member had a more robust aubergine involtino with mozzarella & confit tomato.

Main courses again was a 3:1 split with three opting for a very tasty seared salmon which was finely sliced with zucchini trifolati, ricotta & harissa. The latter came like a mousse and the individual amongst us opted for the more rustic ballotine of chicken stuffed with an Italian sausage & rosemary potatoes - this smelt divine and I was assured tasted even better! My only complaint would be that we ordered new potatoes (£3.50) and green beans. Nothing to complain about yet - but the latter appeared to have been forgotten and arrived after a few nudges with apologies but by then the majority of the dish had been eaten and so slightly disappointing!

Disappointment was soon forgotten when the desserts arrived. Once again the party went with a 3:1 split; the majority opted for the almond and polenta tart with ice cream and the fourth a refreshing peach compote with creme fraiche & strawberry jam ice cream.

The third choices that we did not order were a starter of rocket, cherry tomato & grilled mackerel bruschetta, the main a butternut squash ravioli with butter & sage and a selection of sorbets & ice cream.

All three courses were accompanied by the two bottles of Rick Stein's Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion, Hunter Valley, Australia 2007 - there was a Rick Stein's Australian Red. SE Australia 2002 available under the offer. It was certainly very moor-ish and we would order it again if it was available from the general wine menu (looking at the web site, sadly it isn't).

The cappuccino's and double espresso arrived with our bill - there was no charge for the vegetables and we had made no request for a deduction so another tick to the maitre d'. Service had been friendly and un intrusive even when we realised we were one of the last to leave and they were probably desperate to clear and lock up.

Sadly the offer was only for August but with luck The Phoenix will repeat such an offer in the future as it provided us with an excuse to eat there not for a "special" event but it gave us an excuse for an overdue catch up with friends accompanied by quality food and wine at £25 a head. Don't forget that you will probably spend a little more on extras - the coffees and other extras added an extra £16.45 per couple.

Sian Evans

September 7, 2009