Sit-down meal, cocktails or tapas, Market Restaurant caters for all in equal measures
Walk along Western Road and it’s pretty hard to miss Market Restaurant with its bold Victorian green metro tiled walls. Go inside and you’ll find the gleaming green tiles continue, alongside ceiling-hanging filament lamps and bevelled mirrors. The best seat in the house is up at the high-top bar, which allows you to watch as the chefs prepare your food.
Small Plates For Two
I came to review on a Tuesday evening and the atmosphere was charged, with most tables full. My guest and I were both famished, so we began greedily eyeing up the menu and making our choices as soon as we were seated.
Small plates are clearly having a moment, as everywhere seems to be serving them in one way or another and Market is in on this too. Divided up as from The Green Grocer, From The Fishmonger, From The Butcher and From The Cheesemonger the small plates are designed to share between two and served when they are ready – tapas style. In addition to these, the menu offers mini plates (appetisers) and smaller selection of large plates – for those not so able to share.
A Treat For The Tounge
Three or four plates per person are recommended, plus a side dish or two, so we start with the crispy olives with cavolo nero (black kale) pesto and yoghurt. If you don’t like olives this is a great way to get into them as the flavour is more subtle. Then we move on try the cheesy croquetas with smoky ham and a beetroot dip. It’s a melting moment of yumminess and we wolf these down.
The venison carpaccio with plums, hazelnuts and truffles honey follows and it looks stunning. Divinely sweet and nutty I try to eat just my fair share of the dish, but it proves a challenge.
Whilst we’re tucking in, the broccoli with crispy kale, tahini and pumpkin seeds comes closely after. The broccoli is just how I like it, firm to bite and complemented by the smooth tahini paste. What makes the dish though is the feather-light crispy kale that dissolves like dust on the tongue.
Next up is a dish with what feels like it has Turkish influence; stuffed squid, pepper, chickpeas, black olive and sherry. This is my guest’s choice not mine as both olives and chickpeas don’t normally do it for me. Its first success is there’s not a hint of rubberiness from the squid, its second is it’s mildly spicy, which suits the dish and doesn’t overwhelm the squid. To my surprise, I really enjoy the firm chickpeas too. We conclude it’s a lovely way to eat seafood.
Our final small plate is mussels accompanied by chorizo, white wine, shallot and capers. The dish has us completely baffled as it is remarkably cheesy but we’re told it doesn’t contain any cheese. The sauce is creamy and tangy from the chorizo and we ask for extra bread to mop up the excess. If you order this dish I recommend a side of skinny fries or the more indulgent, truffle duck fat chips as the mussels are fairly small.
Desserts – Hit and Miss
Not yet full from our small plates we move onto desserts, ordering the oreo chocolate delice with hot chocolate sauce and the crema sevilla. The crema sevilla is inoffensive but lacks excitement. I think it would be more successful with a stem of ginger or grated orange through it to bring it alive. The strongly flavoured ginger biscuit served on the side takes all the glory in this. The oreo delice is better but a bit like death by chocolate and I struggle to eat it all by myself. I’d recommend this if you’re a chocoholic but shared with another diner.
If you’re a well-travelled foodie this is the place for you. Each dish is inspired by owners, Kate and Neil’s travels around the world, forming an eclectic and varied menu. Dishes are also continually adapted and changed depending on the seasons, so keep an eye out for changes to the menu and don’t forget to check the specials board above the bar.
PRICE: £47 for 2 people (no alcohol)
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
*Disclosure: I was invited to Market to review and my meal with complimentary, but as always, my opinion isn’t swayed by freebies and you are getting my honest opinion on the whole experience.