We'd had a difficult afternoon in dispute with a local company, sought solace in the pub a few doors away and then decided on a spontaneous visit to The Gallery.
A Friday evening at 6.30pm proved no problem to the two of us being accommodated although bookings soon filled up the compact dining room with its crisp, angular if rather dark decor ... difficult for my partner who is profoundly deaf but an excellent lip reader. The length of our stay could well have prevented further covers at our table for the rest of the evening but there was no pressure to vacate. The screaming guitar musak, although within our taste and even at acceptable volume was somewhat out of place ... Italian sounds would have been a better accompaniment for the closely focussed menu.
We are not high volume eaters and rarely select anywhere from the starter menu.
My partner went for penne with chicken in a tomato sauce, mine was pasta parcels (larger than what would be called ravioli) with a filling including salmon, in a rich, creamy sauce including vodka. The touch of brilliance was the cooked cherry tomatoes which when taken with some parcel and sauce gave a sublime combination of identifiably seperate flavours with a smooth texture of creamy richness without anything overpowering yet with the sweet tang of tomato. Superb!
As receives comment in other reviews, there is a substantial cellar which was rather formidable for us so we asked Lucio for his recommendation. Without hestation he came up with a French chardonnay which was a favourite with regulars, he said. It drank perfectly with our food with the tropical fruit notes given in the wine list description coming through neatly at the end of the taste range to, once more, compliment the cherry tomatoes.
For dessert, my partner and I shared a large helping of an Italian version of bread and butter pudding which was quite unlike anything to be found in a Yorkshire domestic kitchen! Again, we sought a waiter's advice on accompaniment from ice cream, cream or custard. A surprise selection from Micha (a young woman dancer from Hull supplementing her income waiting at table) was custard. It went down a treat!
We had exchanges with all three waiting staff, Andriano and the two mentioned above, as they passed by at their work. All were affable, polite, engaging and attentive. Fraturnising with us disappointingly earned Micha the evil eye from the maître d. Such a pity since engaging with this charming young woman so obviously enthusiastic about her professional dancing activities, was every bit a part of our desire to re-visit The Gallery.
We also asked to meet the creators of our lovely food and managed to exchange a quick greeting with chef Ken and his sous Andrew across the threshold of their kitchen. Like most chefs who encounter patrons taking the trouble to seek them out in the engine room of a restaurant Ken (from 'all over'and Andrew (a local man) were almost overwhelmed by our compliments and smiled broadly and all too briefly at us through the steamy heat of their workplace.
Prices ... we never complain about paying what might be regarded as 'extra' for good food - unless it is plain we are being fleeced! Having looked at the description of the dishes rather than the price column in order to make my selection, I discovered that I'd chosen the most expensive main course on the main menu (that is with the exception of the 'specials' which all exceeded the price of mine at £14.50). Wine is always upwards of 300% more expensive in a restaurant than the same bottle would be (if available!) at even your favourite wine merchant ... if you can find one now that supermarkets have gobbled up this along with almost every other independent retail trade. Take the wine off (and there was no objection to us taking away the portion of the bottle we didn't drink at the table - "its what everyone does") and we both ate wonderful food for less than £45 total.
The toilets ... well, the gents at least ... are not the best ever encountered. I had to pass comment, as we paid at the desk, to the boss, who now had a gladder eye for us than for Micha earlier, that although the wash basin taps were located in traditional positions ... red for hot on the left, blue for cold on the right ... they emitted water temperatures the wrong way round ... cold from the red on the left and hot from the blue on the right. Sorry but nowhere is perfect and I'm struggling to find anything to complain about!
An unexpectedly marvellous evening!
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