Christmas is just around the corner and like it or not, it is everywhere.
The festive season arrived at No1 Duke Street in Richmond where you can't help but feel at home.
The bar and restaurant is easy to miss as you turn off Richmond's main high street, the entrance hidden in a small coutyard. But upon entering, the buzz is immediate.
It's full of people grabbing a bite to eat or socialising over a drink following a hard days work.
The modern pub is about to celebrate its first birthday and the owner says it is a perfect place for enjoying a coffee, beer or three course meal. And with a roaring open fire to greet you, who could say no?
For the festive season, the bar-come-restaurant is offering a "hand crafted Christmas menu."
It's £36 for all three courses, or £28 for two.
And, yes, we were treated to a taste of all the Christmas menu has to offer from Smoked Salmon Roulade to start, traditional Christmas Turkey to follow and Christmas Eton Mess to top it off. All in miniature of course.
My plus one and I were whisked off to a private function room to enjoy the taste of Christmas.
To begin, we were welcomed by a colourful cocktail of Prosecco, Conyac, homemade hibiscuc syrup, dandelion and burdock bitters, topped off with a hibiscus flower.
Perfect to wet the appetite.
There are four dishes to choose from; Cannellini Bean Soup, Smoked Salmon Roulade, Bresaola and Flat Mushroom Carpaccio.
My favourite had to be the salmon, which was accompanied by pea shoots, horseradish and rye bread.
The horseradish wasn't too strong and complimented the salmon well.
If your not a fan of fish, the bean soup comes a close second, and with ingredients like chestnut and truffle crème fraiche, it's hard to find a fault.
By this point I can tell a lot of thought has gone into this menu, the owner tells us that all of the dishes are homemade in the restaurant's kitchen, and you only have to taste the food to believe her.
Now it's time to take a seat around a table of 10 people, which reminded me of gathering as a family for Christmas day.
The cocktails are put to one side and the wine begins to flow. We were treated to both red and white wine, glasses of which start at £5.50, with the price for a bottle ranging from £19.50 up to around £80 for those looking to spend that bit more.
We were treated to a beautiful New Zealand Pinot Noir, which complimented the beef perfectly.
The main meals? Well, where do I start - it was more like a feast.
From traditional Turkey with all the trimmings to Beer Braised Brisket and Salmon en Croute to Spelt, Buckwheat and Mushroom Risotto, there is something for everyone.
My tip? Go for the beef! Accompanied by a sweet mashed potato and a sauce to die for, the beef melted in my mouth.
However, if you are a sucker for tradition, the turkey certainly lives up to expectations, and don't worry, it's accompanied by brussel sprouts and pigs in blankets. After all, it wouldn't be a Christmas dinner without either.
Onto dessert...yes we are still going...just about!
The waiters came round with a platter full of sweet treats.
We were each provided with a taste of the Sticky Toffee Date Pudding, Lemon Posset, No11 Christmas Eton Mess and Black Forest Brownie.
I have to confess, I couldn't quite finish them all, but I was determined not to leave any of the homemade Eton Mess. Filled with cream, meringue and mixed winter berries, it was a nice light way to conclude the banquet.
My companion agreed, but he left all plates bare, whilst I am left full to burst. But would it be Christmas if you had room for more? I think not.
To finish, we sipped on a traditional Irish coffee. The menu states that there is an option to add tea and coffee for an extra £3. Or, if you can somehow fit anymore in, cheese and biscuits are available for £5 per person.
Is it worth a visit?
Absolutely! The staff were extremely friendly and appeared to be having a great time. The relaxed vibe creates a perfect atmosphere to enjoy a winter warmer in a pub which prides itself as a mix of old and new.
Personally, I feel it's just not Christmas without the option of a Christmas pudding and warm mince pies. But I wouldn't let this turn you off as the quality of what is on the menu really doesn't dissapoint.
So if you fancy popping along for a taste of Christmas and enjoy tradition with a modern twist, the festive menu will be available from November 28.
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