An invite to a Bitters N Twisted venue should always be accepted. You can guarantee good company, tasty food and lashings of booze. When Marmalade asked if I’d like to try out the new summer menu, I of course said YES.
Based in the Rep Theatre, Marmalade has a decor that reminds you of a cross between a stage set, a cool bar and your nan’s living room. Trust me, it works.
We were welcomed with a new cocktail. As usual, I have forgotten the name of this, and I can’t find it on the drinks menu, but it was kaffir lime liquer and tonic. It was very, very tasty. Light, refreshing, and perfect for summer evenings. Very drinkable!
The starters were served buffet style, with sharing platters, and mini versions of the full size starters. Marmalade prides itself on offering vegetarian and fish options that are as good as the meat options, so we started off with a taste of some of the fishy starters.
We tried the Fish Sharing Platter (£14), which serves two. Served on a board, the platter has tequila cured salmon, potted mackerel, calamari, rollmops, lemon tartare and crispy bread. Despite the fact I like fish, this isn’t something I would order normally, but I definitely will now! Everything on it was delicious. The calamari was perfectly cooked; crisp without a hint of rubberiness. The potted mackerel I could have just eaten the whole jar with a spoon. Flavourful, without being overpoweringly fishy. If you do like fish, I highly recommend this.
The fish starters were accompanied by the Paloma Faith (£7) which is tequila, dry vermouth and agave syrup, topped with grapefruit Ting. If you like your cocktails to actually taste of alcohol, this is a good pick. Pleasingly boozy, but fresh enough to cut through all that fish.
Next was canape versions of two of the starters. The Rabbit and Ham Hock Terrine (£5.95) was a little rich and gamey for my taste, but seemed to go down a treat with the others. The accompanying orange and vermouth marmalade was excellent though; sweet and sticky.
The Heritage Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad, (£6.25) served with taparnade, is the perfect summer starter. I love tomatos, so this is a great starter for me.
These starters were joined by a Cherry Orchard (£7). This cocktail is vodka, sweet vermouth, cherry syrup and cranberry juice. It was a little sweet for me, but still tasty. Excellent for those with more of a sweet tooth.
We got to try mini versions of the four new main courses on the summer menu. The Sweet Potato Curry (£11.50) is vegan, and is packed with fresh, tasty veg. I’d have liked a little more heat, but with it’s subtle warmth, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. My favourite was the Trout and Smoked Haddock Fishcakes (£13.50). Topped with a poached duck egg, the fishcakes are a very generous size, and fried beautifully. The Free Range Chicken Supreme (£13.75) was almost sweet, with a wholegrain mustard cider sauce. The Teriyaki Salmon (£14.75) would be perfect for a pre-theatre dinner. The dish was simple, served with wild rice, but would be a good filling option to eat, that wouldn’t sit heavy and make you sleepy when the house lights go down.
There was, naturally, another cocktail paired with all this. This time it was Noises Off (£7), which is gin, vermouth and elderflower topped with sparkling apple. This is another great choice for a summer drink. Fruity and refreshing.
As if all that wasn’t enough, dessert arrived. Afogatto or vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso to pour over, is the perfect round off to a big meal. The vanilla ice cream was excellent, and I was impressed to see they even had a dairy free ice cream for the dairy free diner with us that night.
To finish us off, (and wow did it), the My Fair Negroni. Be warned, with gin, Suze gentian liquer and vermouth, this is strong. It tastes strong too, and I only drank about half of mine and had to give up. If I hadn’t already drunk several cocktails, I would have managed it, but this is definitely one to buy and drink slowly.
As always, we had an excellent evening at Marmalade. Pop along and try out their new summer menu.
I was a guest of Marmalade, invited to try out the new summer menu in exchange for my thoughts. All opinions are honest and my own.