I would describe the style of Kingswood Bar and Restaurant at London Apprentice nr St Austell, as less of a palace and more of an urban living room. Our visit had been arranged by relatives, who had chosen and booked it whilst holidaying nearby. Having heard good things about Kingswood from friends, we went along with high expectations and hungry bellies!
As a venue it is surprisingly large, and has been divided into three separate areas of a seated bar/waiting area, a dining room and dining conservatory. The decoration was tasteful enough but the whole place lacked atmosphere, and had the feel of a residential show home rather than a buzzing bar and eatery.
We visited on a very busy and sunny evening earlier in June. We were delighted to find the staff to be welcoming and pleasantly attentive, and after a short time waiting in the bar area we were shown to a table in the conservatory. Again it was pleasant enough, but any hint of ambience was completely drowned out by the din of chattering diners and rattling cutlery. Some soft background music might have been just enough to help solve this.
So, onto the food. We decided against starters and moved straight to main courses. I went with an Oriental Crispy Duck Salad featuring coriander, ginger, cucumber, hoisin & roasted cashews. Sadly I was disappointed. The duck was tasty, but not crispy. The salad was limp and sodden with sauce and the cashews were soggy and in short supply. The flavours were fine but the overall mouthful lacked texture and bite.
The Cornish Crusted Cod with roasted peppers, new potatoes, chorizo, chick peas & tomato was an unusual choice for my husband who would normally go for some kind of red meat, but he decided to take a gamble and opt for something different! However, his gamble did not pay off. Again, whilst the flavour combinations and the fish itself were enjoyable, he found the dish to be sloppy due to the fact that the peppers, potatoes, and other accompaniments were drowning in cooking liquid. As with my cashews, pieces of chorizo were few and far between.
Our fellow dinner guests enjoyed their meals which included a Sweet Potato & Chickpea Tagine with apricot and coriander cous cous, toasted almonds & olives, and a flame grilled Kingswood Gourmet Burger with tomato relish, smoked paprika mayo, dill pickles, cheese & big chips. Based on dinner, we decided to skip dessert which included choices of Classic Crème Brulee, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Eton Mess, and headed back to the bar for drinks. We left having had a pleasant evening but feeling a little underwhelmed by our dining experience. Perhaps we had just made unfortunate menu choices, or perhaps the usual chef had taken the day off when we were there (on this occasion the restaurant were not forewarned of my review), either way it is a shame as I know plenty of people who love it.
Main courses at Kingswood are priced from £10.50, with salads and pastas available from £7.95. Children’s meals are available priced from £4.25. For information, to download menus or to book a table log on to http://www.kingswoodbarandrestaurant.co.uk or call 01726 63780.