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Dinner at Host, Bishop’s Stortford

PUBLISHED: 12:02 17 June 2014 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 June 2014

Smoked chicken Waldorf salad

Smoked chicken Waldorf salad

Archant

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne heads for Bishop’s Stortford to check out a thoroughly modern restaurant

Host, The Corn Exchange, Bishop's StortfordHost, The Corn Exchange, Bishop's Stortford

About the restaurant.

Host in Bishop’s Stortford has established a loyal following since opening in June 2000, with fresh seasonal produce, regularly-changing menus and value for money among its buzzwords. Special events including Spanish wine tastings and seafood cooking demonstrations keep up the momentum.

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Atmosphere and decor.

Chicken liver parfait with chutney and toastChicken liver parfait with chutney and toast

Set in the rotunda extension to the Corn Exchange, Host opts for the modern approach with black tables and chairs set off by a bright open-plan kitchen and pastel walls and light panels. It’s stylish, smallish and cosy.

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Service.

We were ahead of the crowd and had the attention of no fewer than three friendly servers, including the boss, Juan. All were on good form, even when the place began filling.

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The menu.

Uncomplicated modern European is the theme, typically with six starters, six mains and six desserts plus cheese on the a la carte list. There is a smaller but good-looking set-dinner menu with two courses at £15 or three for £17.50 and a set lunch offer at £12.50 for two courses or £15 for three.

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To start.

Seared scallops or pan-fried pigeon breast notwithstanding, we chose simple starters - chicken liver parfait with chutney and toast (£6.95), and smoked chicken Waldorf salad (£5.96). Both were well presented and did the job, with the pate earning special praise.

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Main courses.

Whole lemon sole with brown shrimp and caper butter, roast new potatoes and spinach (£19.50) was a major hit with my companion, impressed by the whiteness of the fish and the careful presentation. The coating on the Cajun roasted cod with apple and fennel slaw and sweet corn fritters (£14.50) should have been spicier, but it was a pleasant enough dish and the unusual trimmings lifted it out of the ordinary.

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Dessert.

We coveted the chocolate fondant with home-made marmalade ice cream but feared we would not do it justice. A shared pear and apple crumble with ice cream (£6) was a good compromise.

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The Experience.

We opted for a low-key meal, but our choices were all good. Attentive service was the icing on the cake.

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The cost of this meal for two was £62.60 including two glasses of wine. Service is extra.

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This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and drink editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.

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