Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I love recessions. They allow those with less weighty wallets to afford luxury items, which they normally could not afford. You can now buy property in the South of England for nearly 1/3 less than in 2007 and likewise, you can eat at good, solid restaurants for a fraction of the price. If you know where to look. In fact, if you search hard enough you'll be able to find deals now which were simply unheard of three years ago.
For instance, in the small village of Westerham, in Kent a very popular French Brasserie, Rendezvous, is now doing a lunch menu for a price that is, without question, outrageously good value. You can order either a 2 course lunch for £13.50, or a 3 course lunch for £16.50. In a village that resides just several miles from one of the wealthiest areas in Britain, Sevenoaks, and which is a stone throw away from Winston Churchill's family home Chartwell, I'd say that's pretty bloody reasonable. At face value anyway. What about the food? Just how good could it be?
After our totally unimpressed French waiter huffed and puffed at the mention of us doing the set lunch menu, he took our order and several minutes later we were feasting on glorious green Olives, soft Butter and freshly baked Baguette. It wasn't very much longer until we were presented with our starters. My Farmhouse Terrine with Herb Salad was beyond expectations. It melted in my mouth and all those wonderful fatty flavors came pouring out all at once. The Endive and Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing was a bit of a letdown though. The flavors were muted and dull like a color photograph that had been left on the dashboard of a car for 5 years. However, the Avocado, Mozzarella and Mixed Herb Salad with Tomato, Basil and Olive Oil Dressing came to the rescue. A fresh, vibrant Salad it got my palate ready for my main course.
Beef Bourguignon is one of those dishes that when done right, make my heart sing and my palate dance like Michael Flatley. And although this particular one didn't make me Riverdance all the way down the street, I did enjoy it quite a lot. The meat flaked off like a dry piece of chalk and the juice emitted was very tasty indeed. Overall, it was a very well done dish. The Sauteed Breast of Chicken served in a Creamy Tarragon Sauce with Sauteed Courgette and Dauphinoise Potatoes was also a top notch dish. Especially for the money. And lastly, the Braised Pork Belly served with Braised Red Cabbage, Root Vegetable au Gratin and Apple Sauce sealed the deal for me. Rendezvous gets my vote for best value meal in the UK.
This place had all the high quality dishes that more expensive restaurants have for a fraction of the price. I have no idea how much their dinner menu is and I don't care. If you're at Chartwell visiting Churchill's home and feel a little peckish, stop by Rendezvous for a quick 2 course lunch for £13.50. You will not regret it.
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