Jade Wright gets reacquainted with The Living Room on Victoria Street
SOME restaurants are like old friends. They’re the places that you go when you’re looking for somewhere familiar and reliable, the places where you never have a bad meal.
The Living Room is one of those places. I’ve been there dozens of times over the years, as part of big birthday groups and for quiet little diners for two, and I’ve never been disappointed.
But somehow I forgot about it. It’s fallen off my radar in the last year or so, so this week I decided to give it another try and see if the standards were still as high.
My boyfriend and I arrived early in the evening, and were surprised to find there was a set menu on offer, as well as the a la carte. It was excellent value, offering three courses for £15. I can’t remember if that’s always been the case, or perhaps we normally arrive later (last orders are 7pm).
There was lots to choose from, and the vegetarian options looked particularly good, so I decided to give it a try.
The menu also offers a bottle of Finca Valero tempranillo for £10 before 8pm.
For my starter I chose butternut squash, Dolcelatté, walnut and honey tart – one of three vegetarian options. My boyfriend opted for the pan-fried garlic and herb mushrooms on toast. Both arrived very quickly.
Mine was a real treat – a blind-baked tart base filled with chunks of roasted squash, whole walnuts and a mixture of melted Dolcelatté and honey. On the side there was a pear poached in mulled wine, which was a sweet contrast to the creamy blue cheese.
The flavours worked well together and I liked the texture of the nuts. My only slight criticism was that the sauce could have been a little thicker for my taste, but overall it was an excellent starter.
Across the table, the mushrooms were chunky, but silky and soft, and the garlic sauce was heavy on flavour which brought alive the texture of the mushrooms.
Given the amount of sauce, the toast became soggy quite quickly, so it might have been better to put the toast to one side so he could have added the mushrooms to it as and when needed. But served with a fresh, small rocket salad, this was a promising opener that bode well for the main event.
The wine was going down well – smooth and easy drinking with black fruit flavours and a hint of spice.
For my main course I’d been tempted by the vegetarian Glamorgan sausages and mash with a red wine jus, but decided on truffle oil infused macaroni cheese with a slow roast tomato and rocket salad.
It was early and the restaurant was (to our delight) practically empty when we first sat down to eat, so no sooner had the one plate of food been take-away that the next arrived. It was practically sleight of hand.