THOMPSON St Albans

“Fine dining, contemporary cooking with interesting combinations” - AA Inspector

LOCATION

ST ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE

Official Rating
Inspected by
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Awards
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Book Direct

Our Inspector's view

Phil Thompson’s eponymous restaurant, neatly set in a row of four weatherboarded cottages in the town centre, has continued to fly St Albans’s flag on the gastronomic map. Inside’s good looks echo its pedigree, with a smart lounge bar for pre-meal drinks and three contemporary dining areas, taking in a cosy front room, light-and-airy conservatory (with its quaint courtyard and terrace for alfresco) and the main upstairs room. Subtle shades of grey merge with white linen and bold splashes of colour from local artworks (for sale, if anything catches your eye). Thompson’s kitchen output catches the mood and is as switched on as the attentive but relaxed service and atmosphere, intelligently playing to the local audience as well as destination diners, with his fixed-price tasting repertoire; from a 5, 7 or 9 course ‘midweek and lunchtimes’ menu to the 7 or 9 courser for ‘weekend evening’ dining, which also moves with the times to include full vegetarian or vegan options. Driven by the seasons, Thompson’s contemporary cooking is underpinned by sound classical technique and driven by quality produce, including ingredients from his father-in-law’s allotment. Careful, well-considered combinations deliver brushstrokes of flavour with flare and panache and dressed-to-thrill presentation. Witness Wye Valley white asparagus teamed with a buttermilk beurre blanc, smoked roe and nettles, while Cornish plaice, served with poached Fowey mussels and grape and sea aster brings memories of the south-west’s coastline to land-locked St Albans. Crapaudine beetroot, fermented garlic and mustard seed could provide the accompaniment to black treacle Lake District farmer’s beef, while a summer finish might see a peach and vanilla parfait teamed with peach sorbet, fermented honey and crème fraîche. Optional wine pairings ramp up the experience factor, alongside a list of interesting global wines, with good by-glass options (including Coravin fine wines by glass too), and there are seasonal cocktails to round off a class local act.

Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes

award
3 Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence
THOMPSON St Albans
2 Hatfield Road,ST ALBANS,AL1 3RP
Phone : 01727 730777

Features

Facilities
  • Seats: 90
  • Private dining available
Accessibility
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome
Opening times
  • Closed: Monday
Food and Drink
  • Wines under £30: 21
  • Wines over £30: 36
  • Wines by the glass: 15
  • Cuisine style: Modern British
  • Vegetarian menu

About the area

Discover Hertfordshire

As Hertfordshire is so close to London, many of its towns have become commuter havens. St Albans, less than 19 miles (30km) from the capital, has retained its distinctive character, along with many historic remains. The Roman city of Verulamium is situated in a nearby park, and excavations have revealed an amphitheatre, a temple, parts of the city walls and some house foundations. There are also some amazing mosaic pavements.

The abbey church at St Albans is thought to have been built on the same site where St Alban met his martyrdom in the 3rd century. The abbey was founded in 793 by King Offa of Mercia, and contains the saint’s shrine, made of Purbeck marble. Lost for years, it was discovered in the 19th century, in pieces, and restored by the designer of the red telephone box, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The abbey also contains some wonderful medieval wall paintings. Nicholas Breakspear was born in St Albans, the son of an abbey tenant. In 1154 he took the name Adrian IV, and became the first, and so far only, English pope. Another famous son of Hertfordshire was Sir Francis Bacon, Elizabethan scholar and Lord High Chancellor, born in Hemel Hempstead in 1561.

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