Drunch (New Menu) – Regent’s Park, London
The first time we visited Drunch in October of last year, was to review its second branch in Regent’s Park, which had opened only three months earlier.
Not only did the restaurant leave us thoroughly impressed, having been rated a solid 4/5 ROARS, but also went on to do very well in our end of year FtLion Awards 2017.
While they were our Readers’ Choice for Best Restaurant of the Year, we adjudged them Best Newcomer of the Year.
In addition, not only did their Cumbrian Chicken dish scoop up the Best Main of the Year award, but were voted runner-up for both their Herb Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad starter and their innovative SELFie Lisa mocktail.
As such, we were, as you can imagine, very excited at the prospect of returning to review their new Spring/Summer Halal food menu.
We had a blast with Drunch’s effervescent mixologist and Head Bartender, Paola.
An extremely engaging individual and an absolute live wire behind the counter. He was on a mission to impress that evening, which culminated in a wide selection of improvised mocktails for us to enjoy. But how good were they? Click the ‘Improvised’ tab below to find out.
For those of you who followed our FtLion Awards 2017, you’ll know that we found the above concoction so good the first time round that it was eventually shortlisted for the Best Beverage of the Year category only to be pipped to the post by Mesa Kitchen. It was, therefore, impossible for us to visit Drunch without reordering this little beut.
Who was it that said that “expectations is the root of all heartache” (damn you Bill!)?
The problem on this occasion, sadly, was one of balance, where the ingredient(s) meant to counter the bitterness of the orange just didn’t quite succeed so masterfully as they did previously. As a result, a bitter aftertaste ensued with every sip which, though not unpleasant per se, certainly ruined our expectations.
Although one Lion found the Blue Sky to be “lovely and refreshing”, with the presence of lime cutting through the sweetness of the blueberry, another Lion thought the latter came through so gently that it tasted like mild “bubble gum”, making it the weakest of the trio in terms of flavour.
The gorgeous looking fizzy Red Passion had a sharp kick of the passionfruit coming through followed by a hint of the strawberry (or a berry). A yummy sweet and sour drink, with a pleasant bitter aftertaste.
As for the Green Hopes, then again there were mixed views. While one Lion thought it was a well balanced drink, albeit “mild and aromatic”, the other two picked up on the cucumber lingering in the background, but struggled to identify any apple or mint.
In the end, we all agreed that the Red Passion was the one for us!
A cracking attempt at producing beverages off the cuff. And honestly, some of these were an ingredient or two away from flooring us.
The passionfruit and grenadine in the ‘Red’ were distinct. Punchy and tangy, this was an incredibly refreshing drink that really tantalised the taste buds.
The ‘Yellow’ was definitely the least inspired, with the pineapple essentially dominating proceedings.
As to the ‘White’, then its gorgeous creamy smoothness and taste, reminiscent of a pina colada, was definitely missing something; and since the addition of pineapple would transform this more or less into a pina colada, perhaps something like guava might be the answer.
It was actually fun in asking the mixologist to run wild and use his creative juices. In fact, we’d recommend improvisation all the way.
A pair of really well made hot drinks.
With the Snowman Hot Chocolate, be sure to give the marshmellow figure a good dip before devouring it in one before a good sip of the watery chocolate, which had a nice, pleasant, bitter edge to it.
The Winter Candy, on the other hand, was a smooth and sweet mint chocolate concoction, and quite satisfying.
These simple Chicken Skewers were simply marinated in a simple spice, and partnered with a lightly dressed simple salad that appeared to be missing the mint.
The chicken was soft, succulent and perfectly cooked. Everything was done well enough, but you’ll have had these a dozen times at a dozen other joints. Like we said: simple!
The difference? The cajun seasoning – strong enough to impart good flavour, yet subtle enough to allow the delicate flavour of the beef to be enjoyed.
Having said though, these weren’t anything outstanding.
What did pique our interest, however, was this crunchy, almost vinegary beetroot salad, which managed to deliver a surprisingly sweet aftertaste, as well as some good texture, that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Presented in a small bowl was a relatively smooth-spiced humous whose lingering hit of chilli was tempered somewhat by the mildly salty feta cheese and countered by the sweetness of the crunchy pomegranate seeds.
Taste-wise, it was a deliciously oily-cum-spicy conconction that went wonderfully with the lightly salted crusty flatbread.
The salt beef itself – cold and soft-textured, but with a firm consistency – sat atop a warm slice of toasted bread that was quite thick for a crostini.
Nestled in between was a layer of pickle, which was lost among the combination of tastes; mustard spread, which came through nicely in the background; and the sharpness of the aforementioned beetroot salad and its delicious tarty-sweetness.
The Chicken Fajita Quesadilla was a dish that was passable, but nothing we’d define above the ordinary.
It was all pretty well done. The warm, toasted bread wrap was crispy and crunchy, while the chicken – nicely cooked and subtly spiced – was mixed in with red and green sliced of pepper, along with cheddar cheese that was heady and apparent.
The accompanying soft and mushy-textured guacamole, with the sweetness and crunch of the red onions, nicely complimented the above.
Wow; was this Cod Goujon dish a memorable one! Each one of those six plump cod fingers were beautifully fried to a golden-brown colour. Not only did they, therefore, boast a light, crispy exterior, but contained moist and flaky cod cheeks with that distinct, heady smell of cod. Coupling that with the freshly made tartar sauce, which had texture and delivered that tangy-vinegary kick, and this turned out to be the highlight of the starters.
The accompanying chips were cut to standard and cooked really well – crispy on the outsid, soft on the in, and perfectly seasoned with salt.
A really well made Mushroom Risotto this. Deliciously creamy and perfectly seasoned, with the fragrance of the truffle oil, which came through mildly, and the piquancy of the shavings of cheese across the top, which leant that familiar cheesy-cum-tangy aftertaste, marrying so well with the depth of flavour created by the mushroom mixture.
A comforting dish that’ll hold your interest right till the very last bite.
Going by the 1000-word description painted by the image above, do we even need to make mention of how superbly cooked this piece of Roasted Cod was?
We’ll spare you the superlatives and simply state that it had that natural sweetness, was perfectly seasoned, and while resting atop a vibrantly green bed of broccoli and soft potatos, was surrounded by an attractive sauce vierge ring. All in all, a satisfying meal.
Déjà vu? Recall that Drunch’s Cumbrian Chicken won our Best Main of the Year last year; and then they serve us this: an outstandingly delicious Confit Duck that raises the question of whether it could be two in a row for them.
Although the four components on the plate are a classic combination, they were done so well that they came together harmoniously to offer this wholesome, unpretentious and no-nonsense plate of food.
The crispy-skinned and superbly succulent bird had such depth of flavour, especially with that amazingly rich, meaty and fatty-flavoured jus with its touch of the sour, that it had us in rapture.
Had with the soft potatoes and cabbage, this was simple, yet addictive, and hands down the meal of the review!
Inelegantly presented, yes, but who cares when it’s light and crispy on the outside, and oh-so gooey, chocolatey and yummy-in-our-tummy on the in.
The chocolate was of the dark kind and, thus, required the contrasting sweetness of both the toffee sauce and a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream to deliver the balance of taste we enjoyed so thoroughly.
An excellent fondant and possibly the best dessert currently on Drunch’s menu.
It goes without saying that with a £14 price tag and its large size, this is intended for sharing. However, despite both the tasty biscuit being well made, as well as the light and fluffy creamy cheese filling being just right in terms of sweetness and consistency, nothing could mask the sheer denseness of the biscuit. It was so thick, in fact, that we struggled to finish this even between the three of us.
There’s potential here. But as it stands, it comes across as clumsy and lazy, and one we wouldn’t bother with especially after a large meal.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
The food, as per our first visit, was of a high calibre and standard. And while our biggest disappointment was, it has to be said, the SELFie Lisa mocktail not being as good as on the previous occasion, in general, the majority of the dishes were marked highly (especially that gorgeous Confit Duck, which might be in the running for FtL's Best Main of the Year award).
Drunch, thus, maintains its solid 4/5 ROAR rating, and a restaurant we'd recommend all the way.
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