Have A Wonderland Time At The Alice House, West Hampstead
03 Aug 2016
Their seasonal menu was refreshingly concise, showing faith in each dish rather than an Argos catalogue that caters for neither man nor beast. I still managed to find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to making my choice, but the friendly waitress (who by the end of the meal I felt I knew better than my strange cousin Sally) was on hand to help me make the right choice.
Both starters came out and hit the table with a splash of colour, the green and yellow Charred Courgettes (£6.50), with goat’s curd and walnuts was a delightful mix, after getting over the embarrassment that the wedge of lime was in fact just another courgette that I squeezed over my first course, I tucked in to the summery and light starter. The Whipped Squash (£6.50) was a plate smothered in a gorgeous sunset orange of blended butternut squash, easily scooped up with the soft grilled bread that came with it.
In a flash of light, the technicolour starters came and went, in their place Carved Flank Steak (£15.50) and Suffolk Mules Lamb Chop, Rump and Breast (£17.50). The Steak was statuesque, circling a handful of leafy salad greens with an unapologetic dollop of smoke bone marrow butter that was fuelled with flavour, hitting every last taste bud. The anaemic fries however, looked suspiciously McCain’s and the lamb was misleadingly modest. We were half expecting the plate to be forklifted from the kitchen but the three different cuts of lamb would barely fill my fist, it was tasty all the same and the spring greens and light gravy added that summer touch.
With room for dessert the Apple Fritters (£5.50) dusted with cinnamon were a delight, three battered apple rings with a pot of gooey, sticky warm salted caramel sauce to pour over the top, I’m sure it counts towards one of your five a day. The large dollop of Chocolate Mousse (£6) dusted with icing sugar and fresh raspberries (another healthy choice, might I add) melted right in the mouth. The rich chocolate being complemented by the fresh zing of the raspberries.
Our service with a smile, story and suggestion picked out the smoothest bottle of Merlot that has ever had the pleasure of making me tipsy, The Velvet Devil, 2013 (£35) was like knocking back a drinkable version of your nan’s cashmere jumper with hints of blackberry and plum.
So yeah, The Alice House is somewhere I would take my friends, partner, mother, yappy dog if I had one (you listening Santa?) and yeah, even my weird cousin Sally could come along too. The prices maybe a little high so, I wouldn’t be footing the bill but the warm atmosphere and salted caramel sauce would make up for all of that, I’m sure.