Darcys Restaurant, St Albans, UK * Now Under New Management*

After getting stuck in the oh so predictable post bank holiday traffic on the way back from Lyme Regis I was lucky enough to be greeted with a G&T and news that we had reservations for dinner at Darcys in nearby St Albans.

The Exec Chef and I believe, owner is Australian and this is reflected in the eclectic menu, a far cry from the norm – especially in these parts. The decor is bright and modern much like the cooking and the staff were all friendly and knowledgeable on the menu too. We sat and had drinks in the cosy bar whilst trying to decide what we would order which proved to be harder than I was expecting.

In the end after much debate, I settled for a dukkah coated boiled egg with asparagus which I was extremely satisfied with – the dukkah ( a north African blend of spice, nuts and herbs) gave the egg the appearance of a scotch egg and it was cooked perfectly for dipping in the asparagus spears.

My main course was ricotta and spinach gnudi with verjuice which were far more flavourful than I was expecting as ricotta is usually quite mild. The dish really benefited form the verjuice too which both enhanced and cut through the richness of the dish, an unusual combination but one that worked perfectly.

The winner on the main courses however was a main course of salmon that came cut in thin slices around the side of a hot bowl with rice noodles, Asian vegetables and a beautifully spiced curry sauce.

Even though I was full after the rich gnudi I still managed to eat a good part of this as well as it was simply too good to leave! Unsurprisingly this left me with no room for dessert and I finished with an espresso although there was a good selection of desserts to choose from. Cooking like this is a joy to experience and Darcys shines in an otherwise uninspiring culinary landscape. http://www.darcysrestaurant.co.uk/

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