“Classy contemporary cooking with interesting combinations” - AA Inspector



Official Rating
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Our Inspector's View

Set in a row of four weatherboarded cottages in the town centre, Phil Thompson’s restaurant has put St Albans firmly on the gastronomic map with cooking that goes from strength to strength. Inside, it’s a notch or two up from your average eatery, the dining room looking the business in restrained shades of grey, with linen-clad tables, and local artworks adding class to the walls (for sale, if anything catches your eye). Thompson's output is nothing if not inclusive, appealing to the local constituency with veggie versions of the taster and à la carte, plus a kids' menu, a ‘Ladies that lunch’ formula, a Sunday roast special menu and, if you want a budget way in, mid-week set lunch and dinner deals are an absolute steal. Whichever tempts you in, it’s all underpinned by sound classical technique and is all about sharply judged flavours, vivid combinations of on-trend ingredients and gorgeous presentation. Inspired starters might showcase smoked pork jowl with baked turnip, turnip and Mont d’Or cheese purée, mushroom and pear. Sure-footed and technically astute cooking is also a hallmark of main courses, bringing on the likes of bitter-roasted sirloin of Dedham Vale beef, say, served with Madeira-braised snails, beef fat-roasted cabbage, Roscoff onions and mustard seeds, while fish-based ideas might see poached Cornish turbot matched with steamed mussels, roast salsify, mussel cream and lavender. Vegetarians will be delighted to see that meat-free dishes are no mere afterthought: Wye Valley asparagus with radish, kale and Jersey Royal mousse might lead on to buttered new season morels with creamed leeks, cauliflower and thyme. Desserts show the same feel for astute flavour and texture combinations with a well-conceived composition involving Brillat Savarin and vanilla cheesecake with Yorkshire rhubarb, toasted pistachio and basil ice cream providing an interesting finisher. An intelligently complied wine list delivers a global spread of bottles at sensible prices.

Awards, Accolades & welcome Schemes

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


  • Seats: 90
  • Private dining available
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome
Opening Times
  • Days Closed: Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2.30
  • Dinner served from: 6
  • Dinner served until: 9
Food and Drink
  • Wines under £30: 21
  • Wines over £30:
  • 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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