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The Kingfisher, Kingsmead
How it rated
Quality of service excellent
Value for money good food for a good price
Ambience cosy but airy
Speed of service just right
Quality of food great on the whole
I NEVER expect too much when it comes to pub grub so I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer variety on the menu at the Kingfisher, in Kingsmead.
I was particularly impressed with the corn on the cob, which was unexpectedly succulent, and the zingy sweet chilli sauce
There are, of course, plenty of true classics such as roast of the day, fish and chips, homemade lasagne and a fine selection from the grill, but the menu is also peppered with a nice mix of fish dishes, salads and a burst of spice.
My companion and I rolled up one teatime feeling fairly hungry, it has to be said, but just couldn't make our minds up.
In the end we went for as many different combinations as we could, choosing to share a starter combo of spring rolls, breaded mushrooms, tortillas with sour cream and salsa, onion rings, garlic ciabatta and corn on the cob to begin our meal.
I have to admit that this is a fairly standard starter choice for me but the Kingfisher's version was very tasty.
I was particularly impressed with the corn on the cob, which was unexpectedly succulent, and the zingy sweet chilli sauce.
For our main courses we opted for ginger and pomegranate chicken and a sizzler of chicken, butter fish and sweet chilli sauce, both of which we shared because neither of us could decide between them.
I'm afraid to say that, for me, the ginger and pomegranate chicken was a disappointment.
The dish was chicken thighs marinated in ginger, honey and orange served with coarse grated carrot, pan fried in the juices with pomegranate, which sounded fabulous.
The chicken itself had a pleasant delicate flavour but I found the mountain of carrot to be quite dry and the dish as a whole a little boring.
The sizzler was a different story altogether though.
Diners can choose between chicken, steak, prawns or butter fish, and can select up to two items, with either hoi sin, Szechwan or sweet chilli sauce.
Our chicken, butter fish and sweet chilli sizzler, which was served on a skillet with stir fried vegetables, and came complete with a tortilla wrap, rice and chips (we couldn't decide yet again), was gorgeous.
It was mouth-wateringly tasty and juicy, the meat and fish were really tender, the vegetables, including pepper, mange tout and beansprouts, were lovely and crunchy and the chunky chips a great accompaniment.
I like the Kingfisher as a setting for a meal too.
It manages to combine a cosy atmosphere with an airy feel that also gives diners plenty of room - there's nothing worse than trying to relax and enjoy food in cramped or crowded conditions.
Staff were also friendly and attentive - they didn't rush us or leave us waiting for too long.
In terms of price it was reasonable - our starter to share was £7.95, ginger and pomegranate chicken £7.95 and sizzler £9.95, with an extra side order of chips at £1.80, although we didn't really need it.