The Winery, Burton-on-Trent

When I got an e-mail saying that The Winery were having a ‘Lobster Festival’ every day throughout August, I was straight on the phone to book a table!

We hadn’t been since last year so we were due a visit and this seemed the perfect excuse.

The Winery is in a beautiful 11th Century abbey tucked away down a small lane in the centre of Burton-on-Trent, not somewhere you’d just stumble upon in passing!

On such a lovely summer’s evening, we decided to grab a drink and sit in the garden. As we were eating quite early there were only a few people there when we arrived but it very quickly filled up after 15 minutes or so

Possibly the worlds strongest Kir Royale – look at all that cassis!

When our table was ready, we were led through the dining room to our seats

We ordered drinks whilst we perused the menu – I opted for a glass of Laurent Perrier Brut NV from the lobster festival menu and the husband chose a glass (or three) of South African white which he was raving about all night!

The starters were slightly different to the original sample menu that was e-mailed over, and instead of the lobster being offered cold dressed or grilled, the warm choice was lobster thermidor

With just two starters on the lobster festival menu, it would be rude not to try one of each and share!

The lobster, prawn & crayfish bisque was delicious and rich with a base of tomato and a good strong flavour of shellfish. A big chunk of warm baguette with butter was perfect for dunking and made sure that the bowl was mopped clean!

The prawn skewers with bacon, and pineapple & red onion salsa were tasty and well cooked. The bacon added a nice saltiness and was the dominant flavour, and the salsa was sweet and fresh. The presentation was a little disappointing though, with the salad looking like the pre-mixed packet variety, and a little more salsa wouldn’t have gone amiss.

It was then on to the main event – the lobster. I went for the whole lobster thermidor and the husband went for the surf & turf – both with new potatoes & salad. The lobster itself had been removed from the shell & mixed with a creamy sauce, topped with cheese & breadcrumbs and then grilled to give a nice crisp finish and a very indulgent taste which we both really enjoyed. We did however agree that we would have liked to have tried the lobster just grilled so we could really taste it properly. It was also a shame that the claws had been removed so you didn’t get any of the lovely claw meat and we wondered what had happened to them…

The fillet steak for the surf & turf was cooked perfectly and just as requested – medium rare – and was well seasoned. Again we felt a little let down by the salad, and the new potatoes looked how I imagine tinned potatoes to look… Buttery Jersey Royals with the skin left on would have been much better

We then went on to order dessert and coffee – a bug bear of mine is receiving your coffee before your dessert as it fills you up too much so I wasn’t thrilled when my cappuccino appeared first, although it was a good coffee.

Dessert was the ‘Winery Assiette’, which consisted of malted chocolate crunch, sticky toffee pudding, cappuccino panacotta, bakewell tart & a brandy snap basket with ice cream. We definitely weren’t left hungry after this! A good selection of desserts, all nicely flavoured. We both thought the bakewell tart with custard was the winner! It would have been nice to see something on the plate that was a little lighter and more colourful to break up all the heaviness – perhaps a berry sorbet instead if ice cream –  but each element was very tasty.

 Overall the meal and the evening were nice, but there were a couple of small areas where with just a little more attention and refinement, it could have been even better.

One thing we couldn’t fault though were the staff – helpful, friendly & efficient, they couldn’t have done more for us. The restaurant got increasingly more busy throughout the evening so it gave a great atmosphere, but the standard of service never slipped.

If we visit again I’d be interested to see how the main menu faired these days

The lobster festival runs until 31st August 2016, with their usual menus running alongside.

 Link to their website is here.

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