Restaurant Review: The Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin

A Sunday lunch at The Radcliffe Arms mixes the traditional with the modern as Damion Roberts discovers

A Sunday lunch at The Radcliffe Arms mixes the traditional with the modern as Damion Roberts discovers

About the restaurantThe Radcliffe Arms is on Walsworth Road in Hitchin, a busy street on the outskirts of the historic market town. Recently refitted, the gastropub occupies a Victorian home named after the Radcliffe family who were instrumental in the development of the town in the 16th century.

First impressionsThe double front doors open to a double entrance to the left and the right, one which leads to the main refurbished and well-lit restaurant and the other to the bar and entrance to the garden terrace.

Atmosphere and decorThe atmosphere had a relaxed, continental feel which was complemented by the wooden, minimalist decor whose acoustics encouraged conversationamong its diners.

ServiceWe were greeted on entry by a good-natured waiter who allowed us to make a choice of the available tables and whilst he was attentive he wasnot overbearing.

The menuAs it was a Sunday, the menu consisted of traditional British pub grub complete with goose fat potatoes and mixed vegetables in addition to more exotic dishes. The menu says there is always a roast beef dish for �12, but the other dishes change on a weekly basis depending on stock, making for an interesting dining experience.

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To startI opted for the smoked salmon and crayfish salad which was a plateful and it was washed down very easily by a bottle of sparkling water while my partner decided on a goat’s cheese salad with chargrilled vegetables. The aubergine did not go down so well, not because it was not of good enough quality but rather because of my partner’s dislike of that particular vegetable.

For mainTo continue the seafood experience I opted for the cod chunk main which came with clams, mussels, chorizo, tiger prawn ragu and baby potatoes. The potatoes were a little tough, but the rest of the meal was full of flavours and the chunky chorizo had a powerful taste which worked in tandem with the tender and perfectly cooked cod. My partner decided on roast chicken, market vegetables and goose fat roasted potatoes. Again, the potatoes were a little tough but they were also deliciously crispy. The chicken and vegetables were plentiful andof high quality.

To finishI was quite full by this point, but a review is a review so I had little choice but to force upon myself a dessert. There was no competition for my tastebuds’ affections and lemon cheesecake calvados with cr�me fra�che it was. The cheesecake was soft and creamy and accompanied on the large plate by an adequate dollop of cr�me fra�che. My partner decided against a dessert and watched on, drinking a nice, hot cappuccino while yours truly finished off his tangy cheesecake.

Our experienceIt was not just the food that was a treat but the staff too, who were attentive and pleasant. The tables were a little too tight for this diner’s liking but on the plus side this made for a more electric atmosphere than on your typical Sunday dining experience.

The cost of a three-course lunch for two was �55.40 including a bottle of sparkling water, a large soft drink, anorange juice and a large cappuccino.

The Radcliffe Arms31 Walsworth RoadHitchin SG4 9ST01462 456111www.radcliffearms.co.uk

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