Lunch review: D'Arcy's in St Albans
PUBLISHED: 14:39 20 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:51 20 February 2013
The casual-chic approach of D'Arcy's continues to win friends, says food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne...
Lunch for two cost 76.44 including a glass of wine and an automatic but optional 12.5% service charge.
This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by the writer. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
2 Hatfield Road,
St Albans AL1 3RP
The casual-chic approach of DArcys continues to win friends, says food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne
About the restaurant
Eclectic is how DArcys describes itself, and it fits. This is a long-time favourite with St Albans residents, with Australian executive chef Ruth Hurren well known for her kangaroo dishes among other treats.
Atmosphere and decor
A light and airy reception area leads to a cosy ground-floor bar and dining room. There is much use of warm reds on walls and furniture, with large still-life paintings adding further colour.
Snow and ice on the day I visited were easily offset by the warmth of the welcome and all-round efficiency at table. Dishes were explained clearly, along with suggestions from the kitchen on which meats were best served pink and which well-done.
Good at catering for a variety of tastes, the menu highlights fresh and seasonal ingredients, with the Australian and Asian influences adding extra sparkle. The set menu offers two courses and a glass of wine for 13 or three courses and a glass of wine for 17.80. The a la carte line-up is more interesting but pricier.
Vietnamese crab and prawn salad with pickled green papaya (9.50) was an obvious choice for someone interested in the DArcys approach and won general approval, along with a tasty salad of glazed beetroot and watercress with hazelnuts and dolce latte dressing (6.90).
I chose the signature chargrilled kangaroo on Arab rice with hummus and baba ganoush (16.90). As a very lean meat, it should be served rare. Mine was slightly overcooked but still full of flavour, with a delicate undertaste well set off by the accompaniments. My companion selected grilled calves liver with smoked bacon on creamy mash with braised balsamic shallots (15.90) and is still raving about it. Side dishes of green beans plus mange-tout and snaps with sesame seeds were charged extra and expensive at 3.50 each.
From a choice of five at 5.75 each plus a sharing plate at 12, we chose mulled wine pear and gingerbread, suitable for the season and as good as it sounds. Baileys brle tart with espresso syrup, or chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake with praline and fudge sauce, were tempting alternatives.
Warm and welcoming with good and interesting food well presented. The Which? Good Food Guide listing remains justified.