The words “ship” and “tavern”, in this particular combination, make me think of one specific thing: pirates. I’m not entirely sure what Jung would say about this word association, maybe beyond the fact that I’m obsessed with Black Sails (the TV show), but it’s safe to say that Th’ Ship Tavern could extra well be an excellent choice ‘o dinner fer ye ‘n crew. Be ready fer a blog written in scurvy pirate English.
Camera: Nikon D80, Nikkor 50mm lens
I’m only joking (partially) – even if for the simple reason I was graciously invited to review ’tis galley by Forever PR, but as you know, if I wouldn’t like something I would still complain. Legible English it is then.
We started off with a cheeky bit of gin as The Ship Tavern apparently has quite an extensive list of the stuff – I had an excellent one with Elderflower, the tiniest bit sweet but that’s how I like me drinks. The decorum would be reminiscent of a pirate ship if someone would ransack it much more – otherwise it looks much more like the inside of a Captain’s lodge in a very respectable position in the navy back in the day. Beautiful stained glass, mahogany (I presume, I really don’t know much about wood) tables and comfy seats. Nothing like what I’ve seen on Black Sails.
For starters we had the Crumbed & Deep Fried Brie with rocket leaves & cranberry sauce and the Wild mushrooms flashed with brandy, parsley & garlic, toasted brioche with a rocket salad & herb oil. Decent starters, the brie mixed excellently with the sweet cranberry sauce, and the mushrooms were creamy and delicious. My one big criticism which, in truth, some people might disagree with is the following: the starters were so large they could most likely feed a small family of carrion eaters. A starter needs to be smaller by virtue of what it is meant to achieve: entice the person into wanting more, it’s basically an introduction to the meal. Surely, it can’t be too small (so we wouldn’t want a bite size dish, that would be an amouse bouche) but it can’t be too filling either. Some people could very well see this as a good thing tho – there is certainly a lot of value for money here.
Our mains were the Sticky Glazed Pork Ribs and the Old Spot Pork Belly. I must say that the staff did warn me the ribs were quite impressive in size – as a sidenote, the staff was absolutely lovely the entire night, great service on their behalf, really – but little did I know. They were the size of my palm, when my fingers are stretched. I could barely eat half of it myself – so in the future I would say that they are sufficient for two really. The ribs were done well – the meat would just cleave off the bone, exactly how ribs should be, with delicious bits of soft bone for me to crunch on (maybe it’s an Eastern European thing). Anca really enjoyed her pork belly, and the black pudding was to kill a shipmate for.
The desserts weren’t incredible, but they were alright: the Baileys Crème Brûlée was oddly combined with sorbet, which didn’t quite work for me, and I would have wanted more Baileys. The White chocolate & raspberry cheesecake was good, tho as my co-foodie noticed, there were only traces of strawberry and the chocolate and the chocolate taste was a bit too subtle.
If you’re in the area, The Ship Tavern is a good place to pop by, especially if you’re feeling hungry: these guys are very serious about their meal proportions. Great gin list as well.