Ego, Lichfield, Staffordshire 8/10

Iberian pork belly with black pudding and chorizo

Iberian pork belly with black pudding and chorizo

I’d wanted to visit Ego in Lichfield for some time. It was recommended by a former Chef friend of mine and the opportunity arose as we needed somewhere north of Lichfield for a small family get together. I liked the way that, when we booked, they asked us to be ready at 12:30 prompt as there was a large birthday group arriving shortly afterwards. I also liked that they advised us that the table would be needed again at 3:30 pm. Others may find this slightly formal but to me it shows a well run restaurant which turns tables and I like to know where I stand rather than have a nasty surprise later.

The restaurant is a large, light space in a fantastic position with views of the Cathedral and the pond by it. The views from the windows on the lake side are just great and there are a lot of them. It’s a noisy place too and the acoustics take a little adjustment because there are very few soft furnishings to dampen the sound. It’s a great place to go with children because you aren’t going to upset the romantic mood (it may well be different in an evening) but it can be a bit difficult to hear what people who aren’t very close to you are saying.

The menu is Mediterranean and this is Italy (by way of pizza and pasta), Spanish (by way of tapas and extensive use of chorizo), North Africa (with tagines), some Greek elements and other stuff which could be from anywhere in Europe. imageThe menu is large and it would be astonishing if everyone, even in the large Birthday group which duly arrived, couldn’t find something to appeal to them.

We opted to share two starter platters: a tapas and a ‘fusion’ selection. The tapas included some very good calamari rings deep fried in a light batter. They were piping hot and deliciously crispy. There was some chorizo with manchego and Iberico ham, some good olives, marinated anchovies and some bruschetta with tomatoes and onion. In the fusion platter we had some lamb kebab served with mint dressing, spring rolls, deep fried squid, shrimps and some salad. I like a sharing platter and this did the trick.

I went for Iberian pork belly served with black pudding and chorizo on wilted spinach. Vegetables are ordered separately and so I had some parmentier potatoes. The belly pork was wonderful. The light meat was tender and the fat was beautifully sticky. The dark meat was well imagecooked and earthy. The black pudding was a really good addition; it broke down in the sauce and really enhanced it. The chunks of chorizo looked like they had been pan-fried before being added to the sauce. It was all unctuous and very tasty in a sensible, not overwhelming portion. My father-in-law, who knows his fish, pronounced the hake daily special very good. The tagine was OK, but possibly not as deep in flavour as my wife prefers. The halloumi skewer with flatbreads was very good.

We did manage a couple of shared puddings. The lemon tart was a little rustic but tasted very good. The bread and butter pudding was soft and slightly orange-flavoured. The ice cream with it was perfect.

It was a great venue for the occasion we had planned. It would be interesting to see how the restaurant worked for a Valentine’s meal. At night I can imagine it being a completely different ambiance. The meal for five of us with a couple of cocktails and drinks was £120 – which I think was reasonable for what we had. The kitchen is cooking at a good level and can cook interesting food for a lot of covers. We will be back.

8/10

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About justaukcook

/kʊk/ Not a chef, not an epicure, not a foodie. Just one who likes to prepare food – What really happens in the kitchen and on the high street is what I write about. Follow me on Twitter @Justaukcook and on https://www.facebook.com/justaukcook
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