King St Tavern: Review

The Tavern is a destination restaurant that serves honest, simple food, no fuss, with fantastic flavours.

By Lee Isherwood | November 8th '16

We recently headed to The King St Tavern, the restaurant offering at King Street Townhouse, to check out their new a la carte menu.

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The first thing to mention is that King St Townhouse is actually at the back of King St. on Booth St. It’s simple enough to find, just don’t walk up and down King St. looking for it. Once you arrive you’re greeted with a warm and dare I say it sophisticated environment. I really had no idea the fit-out was to that level. Warm reds, brass and dark wood set the scene for a casual but classy and somewhat cosy dining experience.

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The Tavern is billed as a destination restaurant that serves honest, simple food, no fuss, with fantastic flavours. The menu is seasonal and we arrived on week 1 of the winter menu. My colleague remarked on a couple of places we had been recently where the menu offered up only really 1 or 2 things he would go for, the menu at King St. Tavern however caused us a bit of a pickle, only 2 people and a menu with quite a few things we’d like to go for. To start we opted for SEARED OCTOPUS with new potatoes, chorizo, rocket and a romesco sauce aswell as VENISON CARPACCIO with redcurrant & pickled cucumber salad and a juniper dressing. Both dishes looked and tasted great. The octopus was as tender as you’ll ever get it and cut in an interesting way to resemble calamari, a bit of playfulness in seriously “foodie” menu.

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After much debate for mains we went with PAN FRIED DUCK BREAST with fondant potatoes, black pudding red cabbage and a black berry & port jus and the BRAISED OX CHEEK with creamed mash potato, caramelised baby onions, roasted chantenay and a red wine jus. The Duck was cooked to perfection and a seriously tasty piece to boot, top marks however have to go to the Ox Cheek, a frankly oversize portion (not complaining) that absolutely fell away at the sheer touch of the fork.

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Dessert wise we indulged somewhat on STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING with butterscotch sauce and baileys ice cream and the CHEESECAKE LOG with blackberry, spiced apple jelly and ginger nut biscuit. The sticky toffee won out on this occasion mainly because we couldn’t get enough of the baileys ice cream which was super subtle an unsubtly moorish. We also opted for a dessert wine, be warned this comes by the bottle (which is enough for 4-6 people) – and is well worth it, I’ve become a big advocate of dessert wine of the last couple of years and during winter you can’t beat it.

Hosting and service deserve an honorary mention from the evening, the right mix of attentive and respectful of space. We also had a chat with the resident DJ who had plays a tailored selection for the venue from Thursday through the weekend and is a valuable addition which offsets the fit-out creating and gives it that modern sophisticated feel.

King St. Tavern is on the ground floor of King St. Townhouse, however to my mind there is a very big difference between a hotel restaurant and a restaurant that is based in a hotel, King St. Tavern is the later and that is a very good thing.