I meant to tell you that we finally visited Bill’s in Berkhamsted. I’ve been meaning to go for ages, so my Mum and I decided to go for a Friday evening catch up and a glass of fizz. It’s a lovely old building, right in the heart of Berkhamsted high street. I’ve lived near Berkhamsted my whole life and it’s been various cafés and restaurants over the years, but this particular incarnation looks so twinkly and welcoming, we’ve been desperate to go and sample the food. Here’s how we got on…
Berkhamsted is so bustly and busy on a Friday night, it took us ages to find a parking space, with all the major car parks being absolutely rammed. We were a few minutes late but our apologies were brushed aside and we received a very warm welcome and a lovely spot in front of the window overlooking the high street. It’s very buzzy and quite loud inside, with lots of groups of friends and families all enjoying themselves, which I quite like as it means you can have a good chat without feeling that everyone else is listening to your conversation. Bill’s pride themselves on their local, seasonal produce and the menu is really creative, with starters such as sharing mezze platters and crab and falafel sweet chilli doughnuts (so tempted by these – I’m definitely going to have these next time!), and mains including fresh fish, steaks, burgers and classics like shepherd’s pie and macaroni cheese. Although tempted by the hedgerow fizz cocktails, we settled for a bottle of delicious Prosecco to sip while we chose our food.
I’d seen the crumbed halloumi sticks with lemon and garlic mayo and pickled red onion on a friend’s Instagram feed, so I already knew I wanted them. There’s nothing better than squeaky, salty halloumi (although the crispy coating does seem to improve on perfection). Delicious.
For mains, I chose the buttermilk chicken burger with chipotle mayo, a side of avocado (everything tastes better with avocado), sweet potato fries and a creamy winter slaw. We were given just the right amount of time to finish our starters and have a bit of a break in between before we were served our mains and were checked on in a friendly manner to make sure everything was okay (don’t you hate it when people keep coming up to ask if everything’s okay and you’ve always got a mouthful of food when they ask?!). Everything was hot, fresh and very tasty (and the sweet potato fries were really crisp – something I don’t seem to be able to achieve at home).
My Mum chose the fish pie, but sadly it had sold out so opted for the chicken pie, served with red cabbage and topped with mustard and cheddar mash. Absolutely as hot as lava, but I’m assured it was fabulous.
We were too full up for desserts, but the couple next to us were sharing warm little mini cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce and I could easily have been tempted. I also really fancy going back soon with Mr E as he missed out, and the Christmas menu, now available in all Bill’s Restaurants looks incredible. The venison and chestnut pudding, wild mushrooms, roasted squash, parsley and thyme butter has caught my eye, as has the molten chocolate pudding with black cherry sauce and vanilla ice cream. Yum.
Verdict? Fabulous. Friendly service, delicious food, no fuss and a really warm, twinkly lovely vibe. We’ll be back very soon with the family. Thanks, Bill!