Monday, 25 November 2013

The TapHouse, Ranelagh

I was blown away by my first visit to the TapHouse a few weeks ago. On the site of the former 18 year old's mecca, Russells, in Ranelagh Village, it is now a much more inviting space with a heavy emphasis on craft beers and a vastly improved menu. Had I put this review up then it would have been flawless but my second visit, just a few days later was an altogether different and very much substandard experience.

I wish I had comparison photos but I don't, only of the first visit which was really excellent. The menu is quite limited (but of course that's never an issue as long as what IS offered is good). The menu has several light bites at 6e a pop (hummus with various bits and bobs, prawns Pil Pil etc, a selection of sliders (mini burgers), a few sharing platters and a couple of desserts. And that's about it.

Service on the first day was brilliant.We were hungry (aren't we always) and chose 3 sliders each (one lamb flatbread, a bacon and quail egg version and another pulled pork effort.) We also went for 2 sides, chips and onion rings.

 The burgers on that first visit were incredible, two of them on a slightly sweet, buttered broiche bun. They came on a little wooden board which I am always slightly suspicious of hygiene-wise but were so nice I would have eaten them off almost anything! They were all uniquely sauced and flavored and each absolutely gorgeous.

The sides were also brilliant - crunchy onion rings and great chips with a very moreish malt vinegar flavoured mayonaisse - brill.We left full of the joys about this place and keen to return but what a difference a week made!

On what was bank holiday Monday the staff looked frazzled and overwhelmed. We were ignored for almost 20 minutes before we got the chance to beg for drinks, then menus and, later, cutlery). We were told they were 'out' of all of their speciality beers but 1(!) and also of onion rings (which would surely be very simple to batter up and fry?)We went for the chicken wings on this occasion which were the worst I've had -
 fatty non crispy skin dredged in salty seasoning (but after frying so there was a nasty powdered coating on them). Rank.

But the biggest disappointment of all was my beloved burgers! They had obviously ran out of the little broiche buns after the busy weekend and had instead sent someone into Lidl for a few packets of broiche finger rolls. The buns were cold and the whole thing slapdash and not a patch on the first time round.

I will return but cautiously so and really hope these are just teething problems and not complacency setting in so early.

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