Restaurant Review: Darcys, St Albans

Different tastes at Darcys in St Albans

TUCKED out of the way from the busy high street in St Albans is Darcys restaurant, a place that offers a very individual menu.

When I arrived for lunch the restaurant was very busy and I was glad to have booked. I received a smiling welcome before being shown through to the back dining room. The restaurant has two rooms downstairs for diners, one at the front which is decorated luxuriously and included a sofa along the full length of one wall, and one at the back which is more minimalist in its d�cor. There is also a bar area decorated in reds and purples where you can enjoy an aperitif.

The high vaulted ceiling complete with chandelier made the room very light and airy and the added touch of a window so customers can look straight into the kitchen was intriguing.

After being handed the menu and ordering a bottle of sparkling water and a bowl of olives, I was left to peruse at my leisure and was interested to see such unusual combinations in front of me. Darcys labels itself as a modern European restaurant but that was not what jumped out at me from the menu.

The most striking of the dishes on offer was the kangaroo and prawn jungle curry, sitting alongside the more conventional New Zealand lamb rump on pea crush, but these choices can be easily explained by the fact that the restaurants chef is Australian and has clearly been injecting flavours from back home into St Albans.

I decided to try something a bit unusual but decided against the kangaroo. Instead I chose the grilled British barramundi with tzatziki, served with dukkha and sweet potato chips. On questioning one of the approachable waiters, I was told this was an Australian fish that had been farmed in Hertfordshire. It sounded a wise choice especially when accompanied by a side order of fine buttered green beans.

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The fish was cooked to perfection. The skin fell away and the fish itself was moist and very flavoursome. It was well complemented by the sweet potatoes and the piquancy of the tzatziki.

For dessert I chose the lemon curd crepe cake with raspberry sorbet. The sorbet was delicious and very strong in flavour, although did rather overpower the more delicate flavour of the cake, which consisted of lemon curd sandwiched with cold pancake.

The staff were generally very attentive although with one glitch. Having given me the dessert menu, the waiter did not return to collect my order and after 15 minutes of waiting I decided to go in search of him. He was busy putting away cutlery in another room as it was near the end of Darcys lunch hours and was very apologetic when I explained the problem, quickly taking my order.

Overall the food was a delightfully unusual treat with such a mix of flavours that it was hard to believe they were going to work and I was pleased to discover they did.

If you are looking for something a bit different then Darcys can offer it, especially if you are more adventurous than me and give the kangaroo a try.

The total cost of the meal was �30.10 and included a small bottle of sparkling water, a bowl of olives and a coffee. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and drink editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.

Darcys 2 Hatfield RoadSt Albans, AL1 3RP01727 730 777

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