VB Hospitality

Channels Bar & Brasserie, Chelmsford.

Channels Bar & Brasserie, Chelmsford.

Date:14thOctober 2019. 

Time:14:00

Venue: Channels Bar & Brasserie, Chelmsford.  

Menu:

Beetroot cured salmon

Duck

Guinea fowl kiev

Miso blackened cod

Review:

After being recommended repeatedly and with a 4.5-star rating on Trip Advisor our restaurant PR team could not resist visiting the Channels Bar and Brasserie Lunch. Famous in Essex for its Thai twist on pub classics, we were looking forward to some exciting fusion food.

As you walk into the Brasserie you feel as though you are popping into your local pub for some classic Great British cuisine. The grounds are extremely well kept and the Brasserie itself feels very homely. As it was a Monday afternoon it was not busy, my restaurant PR collegue and I approached the bar and asked the lady behind it whether we seat ourselves or have to wait. She was very friendly and said it was up to us where we choose to sit in the restaurant or the bar area, as the menu is the same regardless. We chose to sit in the bar area and the friendly barwoman said she will be straight over with some menus.

After a long ten-minute wait, we were offered our menus and ordered some drinks. There was a wide variety available and you could tell that the menu was seasonal. Our drinks arrived very quickly and the waitress asked whether we were ready to order, we asked for two minutes to decide but ended up waiting for a further ten minutes before ordering two starters and two mains.

To Start.

Our starters took fifteen minutes to arrive but when they did, they looked incredible, as if everything on the plates had a purpose. The salmon was cured in beetroot, giving it a fantastic colour. The dish had a very mature flavour and you would have to know and like your food in order to enjoy this dish- as a result we loved it. It was served with a quenelle of iced cucumber, pickled mouli, smoked cod roe, wasabi peas and sea veg. Each element of the dish wash prepared in a way that left you guessing what element you were eating. The dish was delicious and dare I say it worth the wait.

Beetroot cured salmon

The duck was another beautifully presented dish that kept you guessing flavours. It was served with heritage carrot pressing, linseed crackers, whipped liver parfait and smoked duck ham. The flavours all worked really well together and although they kept to classic combinations such as the sweetness of the carrot against the smoky gamey flavours of the duck they didn’t disappoint. The only gripe I would have with this dish is that it was a little dry in places.

Why the long wait?

Once we were done with our starters, we had to wait an alarmingly long twenty to twenty-five minutes to receive our mains. It got to the point where a waitress even asked if she could show us the dessert menu when we answered stating that we hadn’t even had our main she looked as shocked as we were. Suspiciously after she ran to the kitchen to investigate the dishes were brought out by our waitress, the dishes must have been hot as she was using a tea towel to carry them out.

Oh dear.

Unfortunately, I believe that the dishes had been sitting under a heat lamp for some time as the plates were hot but the food was warm at best. The guinea fowl kiev was very dry on the outside and incredibly tough to cut through. Once I had cut through the kiev it was quite tasty the inside was not as dry as the bread crumbed exterior but overall was disappointing. It was served with parsnip toffee, Stuffed hispi leaf wrap, horse radish polenta, truffle cauliflower cheese. Overall, I would say the key thing I took from this dish was how dry it was. It was such a shame as the most delicious part was by far the stuffed hispi wrap. I think that for some reason it had been under a heat lamp for too long and this completely changed what would have otherwise been a great dish.

Our final dish was the miso blackened cod, the dish looked moody and packed with attitude. It was served with Bok choy, a leek and shitake broth, pickled ginger, soba noodles and crispy lotus root. Overall this dish had packets of flavour, jumping from umami, to salty, to sweet my pallet was metaphorically punched in the face. I really enjoyed this dish for its flavour but again was disappointed because of how dry it was.

Three words to describe this meal– delicious, very-slow, dry. 

Would you recommend to a friend?– This is a difficult question, as I have said through this entire review, the flavours and presentation were incredible; the chef clearly knows what they are doing. However, the service had to be some of the slowest I have ever encountered. Considering there were only six other guests, this is inexcusable in my opinion. If they were short staffed and experiencing a slower turnaround, they should have offered an explanation; we would have completely understood and there would have been less of an issue. However, as it was, we were left wondering if we had been forgotten about.

I truly believe that our mains were forgotten about and left to dry out under the heat lamps which ruined the course for us. As a result, unfortunately, I would have to say no, I would not recommend to a friend, not until we dine here again for ourselves to gauge whether it was an off day for the restaurant.

Totals:

Service 2/10

Venue 7/10

Value for money 7/10 

Quality of produce 8/10

Presentation 9/10

Taste 8/10

Wait time 1/10

Overall score 5/10

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