Sunday, April 27, 2014

Le Mercury, 11th April

Le Mercury makes its name by being cheap and cheerful. Well, not exactly cheerful, more romantic. You see, the whole place is lighted by candles rather than artificial light which makes it a perfect place for a date. In my case, a girl date with my best friend.

Everyone who knows Le Mercury knows it has a reputation for doing decent food at really cheap prices. I mean, really cheap. ALL main courses are a mere £9.95, and ALL starters are just shy of £5. That's right. Want rib-eye steak? £10. Want fillet of sea bass? £10. It's quite ridiculous.

At these prices of course it is silly not to get a starter and a main (and you should probably get dessert too, as they're only £3.45, although we didn't). For our starters I had the Terrine de Jambonneau - ham hock terrine with piccalilli and toast and my friend had Ravioli de la Mer - crayfish and lobster with spinach and a shellfish sauce.

Ok, my terrine was not amazing, and terrines are something I have much experience of. It came out resembling a patty and wasn't as course and chunky, or well, meaty, as I'd like. And the piccalilli was pretty lacklustre compared to other homemade versions I've been served. This was watery and I suspect came out of a jar. But I didn't really mind - it was only a fiver!

Alison's ravioli was actually a raviolo - one big pocket of seafood. It certainly looked good, and my friend said she really liked it but I didn't try it myself as I didn't want to deprive her of her sole piece.

The mains, however, totally won me over. They were of a much higher quality than I was expecting for the price. I had the roast saddle of lamb with grilled courgettes and rosemary jus (how good does that sound? Rosemary jus!) and Alison had the rib-eye. Well, someone had to at that price. We got some chips to share but it turned out my lamb came with pomme puree anyway.

And the meat was great. I'm not pretending it was organic, hung for however-many-days, grass fed and massaged with beer, but it was juicy, tender and flavoursome and cooked to our preference.

I can see why this place has the reputation it does and why it rapidly filled as we ate. What a great place to eat without breaking the bank.

Le Mercury on Urbanspoon

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