It’s only the first week in October and we’ve just had our first Christmas dinner of the year. We received an invite from Kate, owner of Friar Street Kitchen in Worcester, to go along to trial their Christmas menu which will run from November 7th through to December 23rd. I usually avoid Christmas menus like the plague, the thought of the overcooked, rich boring food associated with these words for me, is usually of very little interest. However having a look on what was on offer, I immediately knew this experience was going to be something completely different. Also, having eaten at FSK once before, back in June and following their incredible support from customers (a 5 star TripAdvisor rating, and are already listed #21 of all restaurants in Worcester, having only been open for 6 months), I was really excited to tell Mr R that we were going back.
Kate had space for 2 more of us on the table, so we brought some very good friends along to enjoy the evening with us. They were already there when we arrived as we’d popped in to see Carl at Sampson’s a couple of doors down on the way (if you haven’t had a Sampson’s burger yet, you simply must)!
Everything is designed for sharing on the Christmas menu, which offers a choice of two courses (£29.95 per person) or three courses (£33.95 per person). To start you can have the 3 cheese fondue or warm breads, cured meats & crudités (gluten free available). Main courses are platters (minimum of 2 people sharing), and all include vegetables & dauphinoise or buttered new potatoes. The options are a whole beer can roasted chicken, FSK’s famous steak board (30 day dry aged Hereford 8oz rump and sirloin steaks), a seafood platter or a homemade brie, cranberry & beetroot wellington (vegetarian). For dessert (tea & coffee included), a selection of festive sweet treats or a 3 British cheese board is available.
After checking in with us Kate explained that we’d be getting to sample most of the menu. She then handed us over to one of her very competent waitresses who gave us the fantastic news that our first dish would be the 3 cheese fondue.
We thought all of our Christmas’s had come at once (see what I did there) when we saw the enormous bowl of melted raclette, Hereford Hop and mature cheddar bubbling away at our table. Each of us armed with a fondue fork, began to poke around with the accompanying garlic dough balls, soaking them in the cheese pond. The gorgeous cured meats and toasted bread that also came to the table were delicious, and we couldn’t resist giving them a dunk too – it was the best bloody fondue I’ve ever had. Our waitress realised we weren’t going to let go of the cheese until it was all gone, so she kindly left it for us to finish at our leisure (forks were safely back on the table and nobody got hurt).
Kate had asked each of us how we like our steaks to be cooked and after our last visit we couldn’t wait to try ‘the best steak in Worcester’; but first to arrive was the fish platter. On the board were 2 tiger prawns, slices of smoked salmon, tempura prawns and a cream cheese & dill quenelle. A bowl of well-seasoned moules sat in a classic, rich & creamy marinière sauce, flavoured with white wine and onions. After having almost lost several teeth in the past whilst eating the same dish in some of the best seafood restaurants around (I find it amazing that so many chefs neglect to clean their moules properly), these moules were entirely grit-free.
Despite all of us feeling quite full at this point, our steaks arrived, each cooked to perfection, and we were ready to take on the next part of the feast. Not one to forget a bowl of oozy cheese in a hurry, I took the lead by smearing some of it onto the tender steak slices and urged the others to join in (how uncouth of me).
The fresh vegetables and in particular, the potatoes which come with all of the boards, also deserve not only a mention, but full acknowledgment in their own right. The dauphinoise potato dish, made up with thinly sliced potatoes, garlic, cream and seasoning seemed to have a special something about them. I’d love to get the recipe as they were divine. The buttery new potatoes, again weren’t just buttery new potatoes. It’s like that thing where you cook something quite simple and enjoy it, but when your Mum makes the exact same thing with the exact same ingredients, hers always end up being in a different league. Although the chef is Matthew (Kate’s other half), the whole meal felt so homely and created with love, just as if it had been cooked by one’s own Mother.
Although the intention was for the guests to try the beer can roasted chicken, we’d clearly had plenty of food so it was decided to give it a miss this time. That being said we didn’t have any problems with sampling the dessert board that followed. Profiteroles were piped with chocolate sauce, scattered with Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces (this is all of the Christmas I need right here). The slice of home baked lemon tart was my favourite pud on the slate, but couldn’t resist pouring the hot salted caramel sauce onto my first mince pie of the year.
To finish off we sipped on a clementine spiced rum and a Christmas pudding vodka made by Kate’s Mum. The Christmas pudding vodka was the favourite for the majority of our table – of course I was on my own and the minority on this one, not having such a sweet tooth. We did get the recipe, so may have a go at making some of this at home!
The evening was so much fun and the food and service was flawless. So much so that we booked one of the last tables in December as we wanted so much to do it all over again. We’re also yet to try one of FSK’s awesome picnic benches (available on pre-order only). You can find our more over on Miss Pond’s blog in her recent review.
Cost: £135.80 (3 course Christmas Menu)
3 courses (4 people)
Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in October 2017
Food Hygiene rating – 5/5 very good – last inspected 21st September 2017
*We were not asked by anyone to write a review about the evening, only to provide constructive feedback about the Christmas menu back to the team. As it’s been so popular, I’m afraid that most if not all by now, tables have gone for the Christmas menu. Just to add that although we were asked to make a small donation towards the cost of the food, we decided to pay for all of the food, drinks and service in full.