Paternoster Chop House – brilliant on a first date or a 50th
Have you seen the Channel 4 show ‘First Dates’? Apart from being a brilliant tapestry of all of Brits’ singletons, the restaurant also serves as a great background – relaxed without being hum-drum, sophisticated without having to take out a loan to afford.
We went along to see what it would be like as a dating venue, when it’s less about the camera recording all your embarrassing quirks, and more about trying to eke out some time with your SO.
The first thing that strikes you when you’re heading inside (or limping along, scrunching up your toes because you decided to wear heels for the first time in months, like I did), is that it looks less restaurant, more City watering hole. It was even complete with some dude who managed to accidentally smash a load of glasses hanging above the bar with an ill-timed overenthusiastic fist pump.
On the opposite side of the bar, the restaurant area is lively without being too crowded. Anyone waiting for the ridiculously sexy maitre-d will be waiting a long time though I’m afraid (I’m going to take a leap in the dark here – I don’t actually think any of the people on the telly actually work here).
You can see why the restaurant was chosen for the First Dates series – there’s enough bustle for people watching, but you’re set apart enough from each other to make the date about you and the person opposite you, whether you’re meeting for the first time, or just looking for a date that doesn’t involve you both working on your laptops in front of the TV.
We both went for the three course set menu, which has plenty of choices on it, whether you’re a meat eater, fish is your favourite, or you’re all about the vegetarianism. There’s also tons of variety off the set menu too, so you’re bound to find something you like.
I went for a goats cheese and Caerphilly soufflé with pickled carrots for starters; confit duck with radishes and candied watermelon for main, and a chocolate ‘basket’ surprise for dessert. Dan went for pea and mint soup; salt beef; and butterscotch cheesecake.
The starter was brilliant, perfectly light and creamy, with the pickled carrots a tangy accompaniment. The duck was good, although could’ve definitely done with a sauce. Duck is generally quite a dry meat and there definitely was a need for some juiciness.
The dessert was definitely the winner though. I could quite happily eat that every day for pud and screw the calories. The basket was a big chocolate wafer filled with vanilla ice-cream and forest fruits at the bottom. The whole pudding was laced through with melted chocolate and topped with light whipped mint cream. Slightly salivating right now.
I also went for a rum, apple and fig cocktail, which was dark and carried a spicy kick.
We whiled away a very easy and relaxed 3 hours here. The atmosphere and the food would both pull me back, especially for a reasonable £35.00 for 3 courses and a cocktail with tip.
Check out Paternoster Chop House website.
- Image attribution: Paternoster Square