Lunch review: D'Arcy's in St Albans
The casual-chic approach of D'Arcy's continues to win friends, says food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne...
Lunch for two cost �76.44 including a glass of wine and an automatic but optional 12.5% service charge.
This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by the writer. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
D’Arcy’s Restaurant2 Hatfield Road,St Albans AL1 3RP01727 730777www.darcysrestaurant.co.uk
The casual-chic approach of D’Arcy’s continues to win friends, says food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne
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About the restaurantEclectic is how D’Arcy’s describes itself, and it fits. This is a long-time favourite with St Albans residents, with Australian executive chef Ruth Hurren well known for her kangaroo dishes among other treats.
Atmosphere and decorA light and airy reception area leads to a cosy ground-floor bar and dining room. There is much use of warm reds on walls and furniture, with large still-life paintings adding further colour.
ServiceSnow and ice on the day I visited were easily offset by the warmth of the welcome and all-round efficiency at table. Dishes were explained clearly, along with suggestions from the kitchen on which meats were best served pink and which well-done.
The menuGood at catering for a variety of tastes, the menu highlights fresh and seasonal ingredients, with the Australian and Asian influences adding extra sparkle. The set menu offers two courses and a glass of wine for �13 or three courses and a glass of wine for �17.80. The a la carte line-up is more interesting but pricier.
To startVietnamese crab and prawn salad with pickled green papaya (�9.50) was an obvious choice for someone interested in the D’Arcy’s approach and won general approval, along with a tasty salad of glazed beetroot and watercress with hazelnuts and dolce latte dressing (�6.90).
Main coursesI chose the signature chargrilled kangaroo on Arab rice with hummus and baba ganoush (�16.90). As a very lean meat, it should be served rare. Mine was slightly overcooked but still full of flavour, with a delicate undertaste well set off by the accompaniments. My companion selected grilled calves’ liver with smoked bacon on creamy mash with braised balsamic shallots (�15.90) and is still raving about it. Side dishes of green beans plus mange-tout and snaps with sesame seeds were charged extra and expensive at �3.50 each.
Desserts From a choice of five at �5.75 each plus a sharing plate at �12, we chose mulled wine pear and gingerbread, suitable for the season and as good as it sounds. Bailey’s br�l�e tart with espresso syrup, or chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake with praline and fudge sauce, were tempting alternatives.
The experienceWarm and welcoming with good and interesting food well presented. The Which? Good Food Guide listing remains justified.