I read in a magazine recently that only two thirds of parents agree that date nights are important; nearly half are put off by the expense or tiredness. Hubby and I can totally relate but our way around it is by going on weekday lunch dates. It allows us to have grown-up time and check-in with each other. Our last date was back in November for my birthday. Unlucky for him, 2019 kicked off with a string of illnesses amongst our children. His birthday and Valentine’s Day went by with not much fuss. So, when the invitation to dine at The Albany came in exchange for a review, I seized the opportunity… after all a good Trini knows how to combine work and play. Dining at The Albany gastro pub was a multi-sensory delight.
Newly refurbished, The Albany re-opened on Saturday 16th February. Along with the makeover, they have a new General Manager, Antony Butcher, who previously managed The Harts pub and restaurant in Surbiton, as well as, a new Head Chef.
The pub has a ‘modern, open and stylish look’, think dark feature wall, large gilded mirrors, elegant brocade cushions and two roaring fireplaces. There’s also an alfresco dining area which rests upon the Thames River. You can dine as gaze upon the suburban flora and fauna go by.
The Albany counts Hampton Court as a neighbour which makes if well placed to be part of a family day out. From Hampton Court’s Easter egg hunt, hungry bunnies can refuel at the pub; drawing close on an egg-cellent family treat. For Mother’s Day there are also 3 course specials.
… psst you can even have post work drinks there.
Rewind. We had our lunch date on the 1st March which was a lovely way to usher in the Spring. We arrived on time for our 1 pm booking. After checking in, we went outside for a better view of the river and outdoor dining space, after which we returned indoors. While I like the idea of alfresco dinning, I usually opt to have my meals indoors. From our seats had some view of the river which lent to the special dining experience. The dining area was a buzz with chatter, couples, friends, family. It felt as those were in the beating heart of the community.
We were treated to a three course meal with drinks. However, hubby doesn’t drink alcohol. I had one house white from France and Hubby had an elderflower and lime mocktail which was refreshing and not too sweet.
I choose Scallops of the Day which came with a sort of chilled rice salad and salsa. As I write my mouth still waters and my tummy smiles. The scallops were cooked to perfection, warm, juicy mild Smokey (seared) taste that was wonderfully completed with the use of parsley in the rice salad. There was perfect marriage of favour and textures hard/soft sweet/tangy.
Hubby had the Lobster and King Prawn pot (in Devon crème fraiche with toasted ciabatta bread) His was a cold starter but it was lush. It was quite refreshing. The crème fraiche pulled the flavours and textures texture.
I eat a fair amount of meat, when I dine out I tend to have seafood. Full confession, I’m not good at cooking seafood. So it pleasure dine top notch ‘sea-nosh’. I had the pan seared salmon on Chorizo mash, tender stem broccoli and Bouillabaisse sauce. The salmon skin was divinely crispy while the flesh was moist and tender’ (strange words for fish I know but over cooked salmon can be like eating dry cardboard) the mix of mash with chorizo was inspired! It was a soft fluffy mouthful of mash with an injection of warm earthy spices from the chorizo coming through. It’s one of my favourite sausages and the pieces in the mash were the perfect size. It didn’t obstruct from enjoy the mash.
Hubby had Roasted Pork Belly Seared Scallops (with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash purée, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and red wine jus). We are crackling fans, did you see hubby’s pork roast on Insta over the Xmas hols? The pork rind was perfection crispy at first them melted in the mouth, while the scallop were as sumptuous as in my starter. It was fresh and full of flavour.
Between us we shared on side of Sweet potato fries with Gran Moravia cheese & rosemary. They were slender fries crispy on the outside fluffy on the inside. Magical.
What’s more romantic than sharing of sweet treat, at the end of a divine meal? Hubby and I selected the house sharer desert which comprised of:
Chocolate Brownie Baked vanilla Cheesecake, Mango & Berry Meringue Mess, Bourbon vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich.
We didn’t want our meal to end. It was a gastronomic experience with a riot of colour and balance of textures, all from a seasonal menu. Many thanks to management and staff of The Albany for excellent service and scrumptious meal. Our time there truly was a birthday and valentine’s wrapped in to one. Visit The Albany’s website for more information of their menu and services.