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September 23, 2004

Gallery Restaurant, Earlsdon, Sunday 19/09/04, lunch

First Impressions
Boyfriend and I arrived 1pm, to find we were the only people there! Imagine tumbleweeds blowing by. A little disconcerting…. Besides, they've changed the interior of the Gallery since I was last there. Now it's decked out in burgundy and cream(?) colours, and there is a mirror running the length of one wall in the dining area, where paintings used to hang (I think!). They've re-configured the dining area as well. I was a little underwhelmed by the menu. In fact, there was nothing I was interested in eating from the starters section. Didn't look at the meat, but the fish offerings from the mains section looked OK. The vegetarian option just sounded plain weird – pasta sauced with aubergine and water chestnuts? OK, maybe I could be a bit more broadminded. There was a small offering of snacks to bolster us through looking at the menu – wedges of cheese-topped foccaccia, a sun-dried tomato tapenade, and some mixed olives.

The Meal
Service on this visit was a little amateurish. We weren't drinking – just ordered some sparkling water. The waitress hilariously just plonked the unopened bottle down on the table quite hard and wandered off! Eventually someone sauntered by to take our orders – grilled salmon on haddock and prawn mash for me, grilled swordfish on roasted vegetable couscous for the B. By this time, a few more people had arrived for lunch, so it didn't seem quite so strange. Then the tucker arrived, and I remembered why I like this place. The food is unpretentious, reasonably well-cooked, unfussily presented…and OK, it does come in abundance! The salmon was, on the whole, quite good, although the skin was curiously crispy and yet tough at the same time, and I didn't eat it. I don't know about putting prawns and haddock in potato mash, but the whole thing worked together with the very rich, creamy, buttery sauce that came with the dish. The swordfish was reportedly well-cooked. Additional roasted potatoes (to go with my mash!?) and steamed vegetables also came with our mains. Perhaps too much food (but is that ever a bad thing?) and a total carb-a-thon for me.

Then came choices for desert. I opted for vanilla panna cotta with roasted mini-pears, while the B. asked for the blueberry cheesecake with mango coulis. The same waitress who wouldn't open a bottle of water for us also stuffed up the B.'s order – he almost ended up with the cheese board! (again, is that ever such a bad thing?) The panna cotta was creamy, flavoured with real vanilla, and partnered nicely with the roasted baby pears. The blueberry cheesecake was a little too dense for my liking, and I think the chocolate crumb crust didn't really make a good partner for the blueberries. Mango coulis tasted fine – I just think the separate elements of the dish didn't come together coherently.

Coffee and petit-four came afterwards, and a very reasonable bill. In summary, I reckon the cooking here is better than most other places you will find in Coventry. The food is unpretentious and the prices relatively fair for the standard of cooking. Too bad about the fact that they can't pack the place out for Sunday lunch (on other Sunday lunchtimes I've been here, it's been heaving!), and, they need to give their wating staff a kick up the backside.

January 2022

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