Guest post by Kate Felton-Page, co-owner of Friar Street Kitchen, Worcester
I had booked to stay at No.38, a gorgeous boutique hotel in a leafy area. They emailed me shortly after my booking to advise booking at their sister restaurant No. 131…I had no idea they were part of the same group but happily accepted their free taxi to and from the restaurant which was lovely! We arrived at 131, gorgeous building along the promenade, in the sunshine I can picture it looking very much like Monaco seafront, albeit fancy cars instead of yachts!
Lovely stone steps take you up to the entrance, we had a warm greeting form the maître de and were taken to a lovely round table in the window with some deep but comfortable chairs. A huge menu was on the table and we were asked if we would like tap, still or sparkling water- a lovely bottle of still arrived with a complementary glass of champagne to toast Matthew’s birthday which was a lovely touch. Cocktails- Huge menu to choose from, they have an open and fabulous bar with very smart cocktail waiters. I chose ‘Charlottes Jam jar’ – a perfect blend of gin, lemon & raspberry jam. Matthew opted for ‘Fake Mai Passion’ – a dark rum based beauty with passion-fruit & orange, perfect!
Wine- The wine list here is not far off a copy of swallows and amazons, leather bound and beautiful. I am in no way shape or form any sort of sommelier, I like what I like and often it happens to be quite expensive- that’s just my personal taste. If drinking white I will always go straight to the New Zealand Marlborough sauvignons, failing that a good Spanish Albarino or Pinot Gris. Red will always be a Full bodied & robust Red- Merlot, Malbec and my personal favourite Pinotage. I seem to prefer New world wines, sorry I can’t help it. No Pinotage in this bible, I had a large Malbec and it was wonderful. Matthew went for an NZ Marl Sauv, he said it was wonderful with strong passion-fruit flavours. Winning at wine!
The menu is equally as huge as the wine list, we took ages decoding but finally settled on the charcuterie board and a classic chicken liver parfait. The charcuterie to our amazements was hand cut on the bar with the most elaborate, shiny and beautiful piece of machinery I have ever seen within a food environment. It was the Aston Martin of machinery! The meats came freshly cut, perfectly displayed with some warm sour dough, butter and pickles. The server explained which each one was too which was lovely- a mix of Italian and Spanish meats- all pork, all great. The chicken liver parfait was perfectly presents in a jar with toasted brioche, butter & chutney. I t was smooth, fresh & unbelievably delicious. We slowly mulled over our starters soaking up the opulence of the building, enjoying everything.
Mains- Our personal favourite and a special occasion there was only going to be one choice. Beef Wellington, it also had the added bonus of Béarnaise and frites as an accompaniment – my two favourite accompaniments. We also ordered some garlic butter green beans and an additional peppercorn sauce because well, sides are everything. The Wellington was perfectly cooked, the meat was of an excellent quality and the pastry was homemade. I personally would have liked a little more of the filling in-between meat and pastry but that’s my personal taste, I feel that it may have been made a few days too early from serving but it wasn’t a huge issue as the dish itself was wonderful.
The béarnaise was perfect, the best I’ve had in years- It’s a struggle to find a restaurant that makes their béarnaise from scratch these days as it IS a time-consuming sauce. The pepper sauce wasn’t really touched after first taste as it was extremely sweet, watery and strange tasting. The chips and garlic beans were fabulous and made the most amazing addition to our chosen dish. Mains away!
Dessert- We were so, so full by this point but it’s a birthday so you must eat pudding, it’s the law. There was a great selection of homemade desserts but, if there’s crème brulee on there then there is absolutely no contest. It was unbelievable as expected, shallow but wide terracotta pot, proper shortbread with just the right amount of caramelisation.
131 is definitely somewhere I would go back to, on a Sunday night it was quiet but honestly wonderful. The furnishing’s, staff, food and drinks contributed to what was a perfect night. A must visit.
Cost: 105 approx. (food only)
2 starters, 1 shared main course, 1 side dish, 1 dessert
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – last visited by guest writer Kate Felton-Page in January 2018
Food hygiene rating – 5/5 very good – date of last inspection 27th September 2017
My Name is Kate, I co-own Friar Street Kitchen in Worcester, with my partner Matthew. We opened our little restaurant in April 2017 and since opening we have had great success. My passion for food started when I was old enough to voice my opinions, being lucky enough to have grown up in the depths of the Herefordshire countryside our family rule was “If we don’t have it, make it” thus my cooking skills started from a young age and my love for home cooked, quality food began. Matthew and I have always opted for splashing out on lavish dinners for occasion, it’s our ‘thing’.
Click here to find out more about Friar Street Kitchen