White Star Tavern restaurant, Southampton.
Last week we were kindly invited down to the White Star Tavern restaurant in Southampton to enjoy a night out – a date night – which are few and far between as I’m sure most parents can relate to! We set off before the boys were asleep as my parents kindly put them to bed, which felt like a total luxury! Leaving us to leave relaxed and eagerly anticipating the night ahead.
The White Star Tavern is located on Southampton’s lively, cosmopolitan Oxford Street, which is our favourite place to go in the city.
We were greeted by the manager, Martin, who made us feel welcome and showed us to our cosy table in the restaurant which was located at the back of the bar. It seemed pretty quiet for a Sunday night, but who am I to judge – usually I’m cosied up on the sofa on a Sunday night with the latest episode of whichever box set we are currently obsessed with! I would love to visit on a Friday or Saturday night for a meal and then drink in the atmosphere of the lively bar afterwards.
We were offered bread and olives to whet our appetites and I returned from the bathrooms to be greeted by this whole pot of olives to enjoy by myself! The bread (baked locally) was delicious, so soft with a pleasant outer crunch.
Chef Matt had only released the new menu a couple of days before our visit, each dish looked well thought out and mouth-watering! Stuart and I took our time to look through the menu while the friendly waitress bought over our drinks – G&T for me to start off. Later I looked more in-depth at the detailed and vast drinks menu and saw that there were about 6 different gins I could have chosen from, so it would have been nice if I had done that – but to be fair I think I was just too keen to get my hands on any kind of gin after dealing with the “Terrible Twos” and a teething baby all weekend 😉
Usually we don’t always like the look of the same food; I prefer to go with food I wouldn’t necessarily cook at home and always choose something different, whereas Stuart will go for pretty much the same thing every time – the theory being why would he pay for something he might not like – despite not agreeing with him on this theory, my questionable menu choices had often left me disappointed and suffering from major food envy; maybe he was right?! I digress. Happily this menu didn’t appear that it was possible to ever be dissatisfied so we went ahead and ordered.
Stuart went with the chicken parfait with confit chicken leg & red onion chutney – the balance of rich, smooth chicken liver with the fresh chutney was perfect – I can report this as I forced Stuart to share a little with me – for review purposes you understand…
I decided on the smoked trout pate and it did not disappoint! The crunchy, tart apple was perfectly matched with the smokiness of the trout and the delicate herbs fragrantly lifted the dish.
The White Star Tavern holds awards such as The Les Routiers South of England Restaurant of the Year and has held two AA Rosettes since 2010, an award given to ‘Excellent Restaurants’ in the local area – and it’s clear to see why. Head chef Matt Noonan has carefully crafted a superb menu ensuring all ingredients are locally and sustainably sourced, all to a delicious standard. Their ethos is to support as many local companies as possible in order to help create a stronger local economy – it was lovely to know that the veg or meat on my plate, may have only been picked in the last 24 hours!
We both decided on the fillet of beef with braised featherblade for our main which was recommended to us by Martin. Let’s be honest, there was never going to be another option for Stuart and I was completely sold having seen it on the website before we’d even arrived!
I tend to take my lead from the style/quality of restaurant when deciding how to ask for my meat to be cooked – knowing a decent kitchen would cook it correctly, which is why I asked for medium-rare so that it was not too underdone for me but remained succulent and Matt cooked it to perfection!! Literally.
Let’s just take a moment to take this all in –
We chose a different style of chip each, we were feeling wild – truffle & parmesan for me and triple cooked for Stu; I loved the tin pots they were presented in, matched with our main plates. I also got the peas, bacon & shallots as a side and was tempted by the braised cabbage, but resisted.
At this point I was pretty sure I could have been rolled out of the restaurant, however I literally could not resist the “Death By Chocolate” dessert. And it certainly was that! It tipped me over the edge and I couldn’t even finish it – Shame on me I know! Stuart broke his “no chocolate until Vegas” rule – seriously, I challenge you to resist it if you visit! The raspberry coulis lifted the decadent, rich chocolate and the white chocolate parfait was a welcomed pairing.
Each course was indulgent, immaculately presented and of course delicious. We’ve already said we would love to come back for our wedding anniversary to enjoy a lively Saturday night – Hopefully then I can test out all of the gin’s on offer! Last year we ate on Oxford street but sadly didn’t know about the White Star restaurant, so I’m so pleased we got to discover it.
Thanks to the White Star Tavern for having us, I would highly recommend it!
White Star Tavern
28 Oxford Street
023 8082 1990