AT 12:38pm on a Sunday, we’re at our table at Credo. “Sorry, but we have a slight problem. I don’t know what the starters or specials are, as our talented, but sleepy, chef is late,” says the apologetic waitress.
Lunch for two, excluding drinks
A few minutes later, a youth, complete with bedhead, bursts in the door and strides up the stairs, three at a time.
Ironic. The slogan for this new restaurant is “Your credo is our credo”, yet my philosophy is that chefs should get to work in time for service. If they don’t, the waiting staff should tell a little white lie, then buy time with free bread or wine.
Doesn’t look like we’ve got the same credo after all.
Still, we weren’t in a rush so were happy to count their homely collection of owl ornaments roosting on a shelf by the door. There are 23. There’s also a mural of a tree and a deer on the upstairs wall, and a saggy stuffed duck somewhere.
These don’t detract from the fact that bits of this place – the toilets specifically – are in need of an upgrade. However, prices reflect the dog-earedness at £18 for three courses, £14.50 for two.
There’s a single starter – the “MAT plate – Mezze, Antipasti, Tapas” with an optional extra of rosemary and garlic focaccia with oil, balsamic, dip and olives (£3.50). The MAT features a sharing plate of four options in one taster size per diner, so you don’t fight.
On our visit, this consisted of two cold prawn roulades (pale meaty coasters of minced prawn swaddled in smoked salmon), mounds of Mediterranean couscous (not bad, for yawnsome couscous, and jazzed up by the addition of an opaque spicy red pepper sauce), a pair of chopped chunky chicken, Parma ham and chorizo discs (which looked like Cesar luxury dog food, but tasted good) and, our favourite, two purple quenelles of foamy beetroot and goat’s cheese mousse with mini oatcakes and beetroot jelly cubes that resembled old school Monopoly hotels.
As someone who likes a bit of everything, this worked.
My main was the special of cod. I’d gone for this because – unless she’d actually said “cab won’t be long” (I’d just got there) or “drab Breton” (rude, and I wasn’t wearing stripes anyway) – I’m certain the waitress had told me it came with crab wonton.
Anyway, the snoozy chef had forgotten it.
There was, however, a good brick of soft fish with a buttery pile of spring onion-laden mash, a layer of thready sliced runner beans (if I’d wanted to floss, I would have gone to the dentist so they could nag me about it), fried leeks and beetroot crisps. Great, though a crab wonton might have been the cherry on the blancmange.
Our other main – medallions of venison (£6 supplement) – featured gamey slices of medium rare meat with a rosemary and red wine-infused gravy and crisp parmentier potato blocks. The only duds on the plate were the three carrot ends – unpeeled, stringy-bottomed, crunchy in bits and reminiscent of Worzel Gummidge’s nose.
For pudding, there’s another assiette of mixed wonders. Two spoons came with a square plate that featured a cup of Tia Maria ice-cream, two blocks of sticky toffee sponge and its prerequisite brown gloop, a pair of burnish-topped baked raspberry cheesecake rectangles and a long isosceles of sticky dark chocolate tart.
These were the perfectly rendered sort of happy-making desserts that encourage you to rub them all over your face and go num num.
Considering someone in the kitchen might not have been firing on all cylinders, that was a pretty good meal.
If the waitress gets that chef an alarm clock maybe we’ll have even more credos in common.