Farndon Boathouse Bar & Kitchen, Farndon
This month’s dining out review took us slightly over the border to Farndon, Newark.
Farndon Boathouse Bar & Kitchen is not somewhere I had had the privilege of visiting before, but colleagues and friends all highly recommended it so I was looking forward to my evening out. The restaurant is on the banks of the River Trent and the views are outstanding. For the warm summer nights there is a large outside terrace and patio area which gives an Ibiza bar feel during the day – a cool place to relax. With fairy lights and chill out music, it is perfect if visiting just for one of their many cocktails, or eating.
Inside, the venue is again chic and cool with a bright bar area separating two dining areas. We were shown to a table in the front dining area, overlooking the river.
Had it been just a few degrees warmer we would have opted to sit outside but the dining room was a perfect setting. We arrived at 7pm with a few tables having been seated and the room filled up during our visit. Even though the restaurant was full, it didn’t feel too busy as the tables are spaced quite far apart, which also allows you to better enjoy your own conversations. A lot of the clientele were regulars, many of whom I’m sure own boats in the marina, and they all had a good rapport with the waiting staff.
As per usual I had looked at the menu online before visiting; however I hadn’t managed to make any decisions as there was too much to tempt me, so I was waiting to see what my guest chose. I liked the idea of a sharing platter to start, and being a melted cheese fan, the brie would have been high on my list; my guest, however, wanted to try one of the single starter options.
I opted for the Thai rare beef salad, soba noodles, sesame seeds, coriander, bean shoots and sweet chilli with toasted sesame dressing whilst my guest chose the Indian spiced fishcakes with a peshwari dressing. My beef salad was exquisite. The beef was perfectly pink and just melted in your mouth, the noodles were soft and the sesame dressing worked perfectly. I could have easily opted for this as a main course, and would happily choose it again. My guest’s fishcakes I am told were also very good; he enjoyed the spice which gave them a slight kick and served with poppadums he felt the Indian inspiration throughout the dish.
For our main courses I decided to opt for one of the burgers. It’s not very often I would ever choose a burger for a main meal but the temptation of the topping of melted Stilton and crispy pancetta was too much to resist. I wasn’t disappointed either. The steak mince used was fantastically juicy – a bib may have been appropriate. It was a great combination of flavours, and took the classic cheese and bacon burger to the next level. Served with homemade coleslaw, skin-on fries and a side salad, it was the perfect size for a main meal, although my guest did finish off the burger, as I think he was slightly jealous.
For my guest’s main choice he chose the pave of beef served with dauphinoise potatoes, spring greens, pancetta and baby onions. His first thought was that the beef was cooked perfectly pink as described on the menu and the accompanying vegetables all worked well. He did say he would have liked slightly more jus, but I think this is just a personal preference.
Although we had thoroughly enjoyed our starters and mains and were comfortably full, we did have a quick look at the dessert menu, as we like to give our readers a full insight with our restaurant reviews. Chocolate is always a first choice for me and top of the menu was a chocolate orange tart served with orange crisps and a rhubarb compote. The pastry on the tart was beautifully thin and crisp; the chocolate had a fantastic flavour of orange running through it and worked really well with the rhubarb which offered a sharp contrast to the heavy chocolate. Although I couldn’t quite finish it, I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys chocolate orange.
My guest went for one of his favourite desserts, sticky toffee bread and butter pudding, and again he was not disappointed. It was served with a toffee sauce and milk sorbet. It didn’t take long for his dessert to disappear, which can only be a positive.
We finished our evening without coffees, but by the time we left the bar and restaurant were still busy, with everyone tucking into some delicious food and drinks. I would happily visit again, and would take friends and family as I know they would all enjoy the setting and food, not to mention the extensive wine and cocktail menu. They also have a events calendar with something for the whole family, from their annual garden party on 23rd July to Ladies night on the first Wednesday of the month, plus much more.