Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ceno, Southampton

Tonight we decided to try a new restaurant from our long list of possible places. Ceno, in Portswood, won as it's not too far away and wasn't the same sort of food as the previous day (we wouldn't want to eat chinese twice in two days!). The restaurant doesn't have a car park, but there is plenty of street parking near by. There's a lot of outside eating space but it was a bit chilly so we decided to eat inside.

We browsed the menu, and there were a lot of nice choices on there but most had one small part that Ian wouldn't like (mainly onion). We settled on the shredded mongolian lamb salad for Ian, and scallops on curried lentils for me. My scallops were well cooked, and the curried lentils nice too, but I'm not sure they were a match made in heaven - the lentils really overpowered the delicate flavour of the scallops, and I decided to eat them separately - 8/10. Ian's salad was awesome, the flavours really worked together, the lamb was well cooked, and I wish I could have knocked him out and eaten it myself! Thankfully Ian doesn't like salad, so he just picked all the lamb out, so I got all the tasty other bits so was happy - 10/10!!.

For the main course, Ian chose the confit of duck, which was served with spicy potatoes, rocket and a mango salsa. I went for the rump of lamb, served with fondant potato, and veg. Ian's duck looked quite greasy but that is usually the case with confit of duck. It tasted good, but his potatoes were a bit too dry for our liking and didn't really seem to work. The mango salsa came with a lot of onion, which the mango had absorbed so Ian didn't eat that. One of Ian's complaints about the meal was the sneaky kitchen staff hiding some crazy cheap salad leaves under his rocket, 6/10. My lamb was very tasty, but again the potato was a bit dry. The veg was good, but the restaurant seems a bit over enthusiastic with the large sea salt flakes, and so was quite salty in places (I never add salt to my food so this isn't something I rate) - 7/10.

With our mains, we ordered two sides - one portion of chips, and one garlic ciabatta. These were great - the chips were much better than both of the potato options that came with our mains, and the ciabatta was really garlicky and yummy.

At this point I should explain about the service. Ian likes a drink with his food (whereas I tend to wait til after my food to drink). His lemonade ran out approximately two mouthfuls into his main. Everytime our waitress came by we attempted to get her attention, but she kept turning the wrong way and running off. She did not come back to our table to check everything was OK with our meals. She also spent a considerable amount of time at the bar, talking to her friend from the looks of it. It got to the point where I had to get up from my meal and go into the bar to ask for more drinks. Ian and I don't find this kind of service acceptable - which is why we gave a crappy tip (don't get me wrong, we're not saying we'd never go back, we always give somewhere a second chance, but I'm not going to tip you for good service if that's not what I got!).

For dessert we chose the chocolate brownie and the sticky toffee pudding. I can never resist a sticky toffee pudding, even though I generally don't have enough room. My pudding arrived, but it wasn't really pudding shaped, it was more a big square of toffee cake. I've had better, but it was quite nice, and the portion size was reasonable - 7/10. Ian's chocolate brownie was gooey in the middle, but lacked a nice crispy crust. There were also nuts in it, and that wasn't advertised on the menu, not usually a massive problem, but they were large chunks of walnut and they didn't really add to the brownie in the right way - 6/10.

We'd definitely give the restaurant another go, the meat was good, and the sides excellent but the menu doesn't seem very big so we'd maybe wait to see if it changes at all for a bit of variety.

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