Review: The Refectory, Southwell

Being part of Southwell Minster, I used to think of the Refectory as a great place for afternoon tea and a slice of cake, I never knew they served more than lunch time snacks. However, since the recent renovation and appointment of a new head chef it’s now one of Southwells tastiest spots. Although the restaurant is relatively small, it boasts a great location on the Minster site. In summer, you would get a great view of the Minster from the outside tables.

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Upon arrival, we were shocked to see how busy it was, but we managed to grab the last available table; even with it being so busy the staff were very friendly and the food looked and smelt delicious. I’d gone with the intention of trying the Cajun chicken salad but with so many people having the fish and chips I couldn’t resist! I wasn’t disappointed, the haddock was moist with a crispy batter that complimented the flaky fish. In fact the fish was that good, I didn’t touch the tartar sauce! The fish came with some fries, served in a mini chip pan, and a pot of mushy peas. The dish was deceivingly large, leaving me fuller than I first thought it would. But that’s not a bad a thing and I still had space to wash it down with a milkshake! I can only assume the milkshake was made with ice cream as it was beautifully thick and really tasty.

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My girlfriend decided to have the Spanish Frittata, which was gorgeous and beautifully presented. The frittata consisted of chorizo, chicken, potato and a range of spices and herbs. The chicken was very tender and the spices, herbs and chorizo worked well together. It was a very tasty dish with a slight spice that enhanced the flavour. The frittata was served with a side salad that was fresh, bright, crunchy and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette that completed the meal. The portion size was just right and left my girlfriend more than satisfied.

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Currently, the Refectory opens 9am-4pm (Mon – Sat) and 10am-4pm (Sun). After sampling the chefs lunch menu I would love to see the evening meals that he’d come up with and as Southwell lacks a true, all round, evening restaurant I hope it’s not long until I do. Overall my girlfriend and I were impressed by the high standard of cooking and thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

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