Leamington restaurant review: The Tame Hare's new 'English tapas' menu is a "real treat"
When we last reviewed the Tame Hare it had only been open for about a year but had already established itself as a gem among Leamington's independent food and drinks offering.
Offering fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere and at reasonable prices, the Warwick Street restaurant has now been running for about two-and-a-half years and, judging by the number of filled tables and happy customers there on Friday night, remains very popular.
But, not wanting to rest on his laurels, chef Jonny Mills has decided to introduce a new menu with a twist for a trial period.
Responding to what he feels is some people's misconception that the Tame Hare is "expensive", Jonny's new menu is best described in style as "English tapas" which a great deal of variety across smaller dishes which cost no more than Â£11.
Diners are first encouraged to pick two or three snacks as appetisers, which range in price from Â£2 per person for the restaurant's trademark sourdough bread and homemade butter to Â£5 for the frozen liver parfait with peach and dhukkah (an Egyptian seed and spice mix).
My partner and I ordered both of these options along with the curried lamb fat popcorn which was as interesting as it sounds.
But it was the parfait, spread on the sourdough bread, which was an unusual exquisite highlight of this part of the meal.
I fact, interesting and unusual are among the best words to describe this new menu.
From what we experienced it is also very, very, tasty.
Another handy suggestion made both on the menu and by the staff is for diners to work from left to right along the list of main dishes picking maybe one from each of the three columns which are categorised as 'Garden', 'Fish' and 'Meat'.
Dishes are cooked fresh to order with only a short wait between each one with Jonny happy to muck in in regard to bringing them out to the tables and having a chat with customers with confidence that they're enjoying what they're getting.
I chose cream of potato and sage soup with toasted almond, which was smooth and appetising, while my partner opted for the wild mushroom risotto, Parmesan and hen's egg.
She commented that it was the best cooked egg she had ever eaten and that the dish overall would set the standard for other risottos she will eat in the future.
We moved on to the fish dishes and my attention was drawn to the scallop ravioli with oxtail consomme and wild garlic - a lovely combination of savoury flavours.
My partner made the obvious choice for her and went for the Thai spiced cod fishcake with fennel .
It was at this point of the meal that she described her experience as 'a real treat'.
The beef short rib with celeriac, kale and truffle I picked as my meat dish was rich and hearty while my partner was very impressed with the sweet and tender nature of her pork chop complemented with turnip, plum and burnt apple.
For dessert I went for the light and sweet burnt white chocolate, bay panna cotta and loganberry which was just right after all the other food I had eaten.
Meanwhile, the dark chocolate mousse with elder and hazelnut was the chocolate lover's delight my partner was hoping for.
With the new menu and approach the Tame Hare and Jonny have shown they're able to make bold decisions in what they offer while maintaining the same high standards they have set from their relatively short time in Leamington and continuing not to ask customers to break the bank to experience and enjoy the lovely food they have on offer.