After watching a movie at Southbank a few weeks ago, we noticed that The Charming Squire had opened at Southbank. With its large shopfront and bustling customers, I put it up high on my list of places to go toヾ(@°▽°@)ノ.
Following our attendance at the lighting of the Christmas Tree, I grabbed a couple of friends, and we went☆*･゜ﾟ･*(^O^)/*･゜ﾟ･*☆. A note of interest was that despite having called in earlier the day before to book a table, we were told that the place was booked full. Again, we arrived and were seated without waiting. Is this a new trend in restaurants? We dont know.
One of the things which I found very captivating about the restaurant is its open kitchen. As we were going to the entrance, we could see a lot of the food that was being prepared.
The interior was a is a very nicely decorated, with a high ceiling and a very rustic decor. Very fitting for a beer brewery.
The first thing that struck us when we sat down, was that the chairs were three legged. How did I realize this, you ask? The friend who went with me fell down not once, but twice after trying to sit down. I also fell down⁽͑˙˚̀བ̇˚́˙⁾̉. Apparently the trick with sitting on a three legged chair, is to lean back. However that night I was wearing a backpack so that took up half the chair, which caused a bit of a complication. Considering The Charming Squire is a beer brewery, and the likelihood of people being intoxicated, I found it surprising that not more people were falling down (ू˃̣̣̣̣̣̣︿˂̣̣̣̣̣̣ ू).
Anyway, after a rough start, we got to ordering our drinks. Being someone who loves to research a venue beforehand, I asked around my friends and colleagues about James Squire beers. The consensus was to order One Hundred and Fifty Lashes. Having never finished a whole cup of beer before, I took their word on it and ordered away!
Dear reader, I was so keen on trying this out and giving you a thorough critique of what I thought of the beer. But as I don't actually drink, I realised at the end of it that I have not enough information to form an opinion. So, you'll have to make your mind up about it\\٩(๑`ȏ´๑)۶//.
My friend also ordered the Apple Cider, but what she got was the Pear Cider. As a non drinker, she found it a bit strong, compared to the beer.
My first associate ordered the Pappardelle with Goat Ragu, we had expected something with a really gamey taste to it (like lamb, but a lot stronger). It actually tasted a lot more like beef. Other than that, the portion size was a bit small compared to mains that my other friend and I ordered. The sauce was tasty, but the pasta wasn't as filling as the freshly made pasta you'd find in Vaipanos or Jamie Oliver.
I ordered the 500g Wood Fired Flank. Needless to say, it looked quite spectacular. However, when ordering, it struck me as singular that I wasn't asked how I'd like my steak done. As someone who prefers their steak rare, it was very well done for my liking (((p(>o<)q))). Additionally, I found the meat to be quite toasted and bitter on the outside. But the garlic herb butter was yummy, and the meat wasn't very fatty at all.
With my main, I could pick two sides. I ordered the Mac and Cheese, and Chips with Aioli. Compared with the steak, I really enjoyed the sides. The Mac and Cheese was very cheesy (* >ω<) and comforting. The chips were very crispy, but the aioli needed a bit more garlic flavour. I was really impressed with the quantity of the sides, it was very generous.
My other associate ordered the Berkshire Pork with Apple Jus. The meat was yummy and tender, but the crackling skin was rather hard and tough. In the end, she left the skin.
In terms of her sides, she picked the Tomato, Goats Cheese, Olive and Shallot Salad. While she really enjoyed it, I found the tastes really strong. She also ordered the Duck Fat Potatoes, which I was really keen on.
We were really expecting quite a really nice duck flavour with the potatoes, but it ended up tasting just like baked potatoes, so we were a bit disappointed with that.
The last to come was our Seared Scallops, which were quite large and yummy. We really enjoyed these.
Having ordered one share plate and three mains, we could barely finish everything!
Afterwards, one friend ordered a hot chocolate to finish off (the rest of us couldn't fit anything in ). She said it was not too sweet and had a nice dark chocolate taste to it.
Overall, I have really mixed feelings about The Charming Squire. On one hand, they really know how to present themselves, but on the other hand, what use is presentation when your substance isnt that great? There were a number of things which they did really well, but their service could improve a bit. (Referring to the above incident where my friend fell over twice, I could hear a couple of the staff laughing at her quite insincerely). In relation to other reviewers comments on the wait time, I do also agree it needs to be improved. We arrived at 7.30pm, but weren't provided food until around 8.15. Luckily we weren't in a hurry that day.
Price Range: $30 - $50 per person