Even just typing the prices now makes me wince. The 'chicken' arrived a complete misnomer; it was no more than an obese quail. We thought it had to be a joke and that another one, at least, was waiting in the wings (excuse the pun). No.
The lamb finally let itself be found, hiding as it was under some ill-roasted veg and Yorkshire puddings which would have served a better purpose being thrown around as frisbees in the park opposite or worn as rather greasy fascinators. What little there was of actual meat as opposed to fat (and yes, I know shoulder is a very fatty cut) was pretty tasty but it would barely have passed muster as one adult portion.
I am ashamed to admit that none of us complained about this deliberate attempt at daylight robbery. I think we were all too stunned, and the staff will have been too busy laughing their heads off behind the bar.
Ok, the place is a nicely obvious gastropub in terms of decor; the staff, even if they cannot understand your order given in clear precise English, are sweet enough but, oh dear, I felt horribly ripped off and also that it was done knowingly to catch the tourists who visit the Imperial War museum opposite.
The Three Stags is a nice place, quiet and friendly, with plenty of nooks and crannies to hole oneself up in for a undisturbed Sunday lunch. Looking around the other tables, I could see that the food portions were generous and that people were digging in - albeit mostly to burgers and chips.
I'm not a meat eater by choice but there was a range of vegetarian and fish dishes on the menu as well as on the specials board. I chose Goats Cheese, Basil and Honey Tart served with Salad and Sliced Tomatoes (sic) for a starter, followed by Artichoke Ravioli with Sauteed Courgette and Pesto Cream, again with some salad on the side. As you might expect (I did) from such descriptions of the food, this place thinks of itself as a 'Gastropub'.
Well, the starter arrived and did look nicely presented. Unfortunately, the 'Tart' was in fact a sort of closed puff pasty dumpling which - on closer inspection - had been grilled on the top so was burned on the top and not cooked through. The pastry was tasteless and slightly greasy, and the filling cold. Still, I managed to eat most of it as the cheese was quite tasty.
However, the bland (artichoke?) ravioli and some uncooked yellow peppers chunks (which had been supplemented for the courgettes) were bathing in tasteless lukewarm oil. I had a few mouthfuls and couldnt carry on - it was so revolting.
All three dishes (including the salad!) were covered with dill, which is an odd choice a I usually associate this herb with baked fish -it's pungent and not a good accompaniment to cheese or subtle vegetables like artichoke. Perhaps the chef had been given a good deal...
When I complained about the oiliness of the pasta to the friendly waitress - pointing to the nearly full plate by my side - she told me that she would inform the chef. She removed the dish but I never heard anything again until I was asked if I wanted desert (!). I was told that the chef "hadn't said much" about my complaint. I was left with the flavours of oil and dill in my mouth, and nearly £20 down (excluding wine).
I wont be going back.
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