I have to confess that during our visit, I developed a bit of a crush on The Roamin’ Nose. The gloomy former site of Duck’s and La Garrigue’s new town outpost has had such a radical transformation that it’s virtually unrecognisable. Step into the light gorgeous previously hidden cornicing, exposed stonework, creams and blues, informal ‘kitchen’ style furniture and a killer soulful soundtrack.
I’m writing this for the January edition of Bite, and I reckon we’ll all be feeling the aftermath of an expensive prior month. Well this little bistro has pretty tiny prices, and offers really good Mediterranean plates and comfort food. Italian chef Stefano brings the simplicity of home-cooked style together with the quality of ingredients you’d expect from more expensive restaurants.
The Silver Fox and I started with a selection of breads with antipasti (3 for £7.5o) and high praise was easily lauded on our chosen trio. The goat’s cheese crostini drizzled with honey and topped with toasted pine nuts tasted just as good as it sounded, and the roasted aubergines were moreishly tasty without that greasy slipperiness you often get. The last of our accompaniments was a fruity green olive oil with sweet balsamic vinegar. The simple, satiating qualities of good bread with oil and vinegar should never be underestimated.
For my main course, I opted for their different take on the usual fish and chips (£9.50), in this case made with lemon sole. I love this delicately flavoured fish, and it was presented as little flat goujons, sporting a perfectly seasoned crispy crumb, and partnered up with small chipped potatoes, tartare sauce and a relish. My signor tucked into the Spezzatino (£9.00), a rugged lamb stew packed with concentrated tomato flavours and chunks of potatoes. A side dish of seasonal veggies including spiced red cabbage and broccoli and a potato rösti guaranteed a satisfied belly.
Desserts of a lemon tart and a chocolate cake were so-so, but it takes a lot to please me on the puds front. With an all-star Italian wine list that offers really decent bottles from £14, (including the bright Sicilian Catarratto Bianco) fresh and coffees and breakfast bites during the day, the Roamin’ Nose is highly recommended for a ‘pick me up’.