THE HARDEST restaurant chain to keep up with during this Autumn/Winter season was definitely Table Table. What makes it harder for us is that our local Table Table restaurant is The Hobbs Boat in Lympsham and although it comes under the Table Table umbrella, it’s slightly more independent within the Whitbread Inns chain. This means that some of the new additions covered here may only be available in The Hobbs Boat and not actually Table Table menus nationally.
The other issue with Table Table was that their new seasonal menu was then given further changes to confuse everything. So with all that in mind, we hope we covered as much of the dishes as possible. As with the rest of the articles, time, money and the odd festive menu got in the way of covering everything but here’s our take on their new menu:
Hobb’s Boat have arguably looked further afield in their quest to try to bring more unique dishes to the table. The scariest new starter, unless you enjoy spicy food, was the Wasabi Prawns. The Japanese foodstuff has a massive reputation of being extremely spicy but this dish was actually rather mild. The juicy Prawns were coated in a wasabi butter which did add a bit of heat. This was the type of heat that added flavour rather than attempting to set your mouth on fire and despite the aversions, this was a really nice. They were served on a bed of Mint Pea Mayonnaise which added colour to the dish and the green made the Wasabi look more authentic. Price £5.49.
Hobb’s Boat have also gone a bit upmarket with the addition of a Smoked Scottish Salmon dish. The wafer Ham style Salmon was served with thick pieces of Bread. It also came with Horseradish Sauce to provide an extra kick and add a bit more flavour to the fishy Salmon. The fishy flavour isn’t overpowering though and was arguably the nicest new starter. Price £4.99.
One of the most Wintry dishes has always been soup and Hobb’s Boat have created a Chicken and Barley one. It comes with two slices of Bread and Croutons. Unlike some chains, Hobb’s Boat provide a lot of Butter which will please a lot of people who dislike restaurants who are stingy with Butter. The Soup doesn’t just taste of Chicken which is good as it actually makes it more flavourful. The Soup also has Peas, Carrots and Onion to complete the seasonal feel. It is a nice Soup but, being Soup, it’s not very filling so you’ll have a lot of room for your main. Price: £3.99.
It also seems that the Winter alternative to Nachos has become a dish of Potato Dippers. The bed of crisp, but not crunchy, thinly cut Potatoes are topped with Cheese, Bacon and Spring Onion and comes with a pot of Sour Cream to either be used for dipping or pouring. As a starter, these are quite filling but they are nice and quite moreish, a perfect snacking dish really. Price: £4.69.
Now we were fortunate, being Table Table Rewards Card holders, to be invited to a taster evening at Hobb’s Boat to sample some of their new menu. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take pictures of the dishes during this evening, so anything that we tried but didn’t have properly won’t have a picture to go with it. The only new starter that falls into this category is their Crispy Pasta Bites. These Pasta Bites were filled with Ricotta, Mozzarella Cheese and Tomato and served with Sour Cream and Pesto dip. These Pasta Bites were crisp on the outside but you’re met with a very soft filling from the Cheese. It’s something different and rather light to begin your meal. Price: £3.99.
Vegetarian dishes are something that isn’t well experimented within the restaurant business. But it does seem to be changing with many places bringing out new Vegetarian dishes that offer something different to your usual Veggie Burger, Salad, Lasagne or other Pasta dishes. Hobb’s Boat’s attempt comes in the shape of a Red Onion, Feta & Butternut Squash Tart. The Tart’s crust was puffed and very crumbly, like a Quiche. There’s no prominent flavour though and the overall texture is rather soft. There’s lumps of Feta to bite into and this Tart is served with New Potatoes rather than Chips. It’s something different and quite a nice ‘grown-up’ Vegetarian dish. Price £8.99
Continuing with the crusty theme, Hobb’s Boat have taken the Beef Wellington and created a Salmon Wellington. This dish was also served with New Potatoes but these taste a bit dry. Seeing as a Wellington is like a Pie, Chips would have been a better alternative as nothing beats good old fashioned Pie and Chips, or even Mash. The crust was nice with a very tender filling. Not overly creamy like similar dishes, this Salmon Wellington is certainly a new take on a classic and definitely a new way to enjoy Salmon. Price £9.99
One section that Hobb’s Boat have tried to update is their Burger section. With everyone providing Burgers, it’s hard to be unique and sell something different, but they’ve done well with these two new Gourmet Burgers. Their Brie and Cranberry Burger puts a winning combination onto a Burger and it works really well. Cranberry Sauce has long been married to Turkey which does give this Burger a slight seasonal feel to it. With Brie being such an easy Cheese to melt, it almost makes sense to put it on a hot Burger to give a really cheesy taste. The only problem with this Burger is that they’re a bit stingy with the Cranberry as you can only taste it every so often and you also can’t really taste the Brie, which is a shame. The Burger is juicy and tender and is served on a bed of Lettuce and Mayonnaise, which is slightly redundant given that you might as well just use Cranberry Sauce. There is a creamy texture but unfortunately not a creamy taste, but this is a nice Burger that just needs more of the ingredients. Price: £9.49.
If you don’t like the texture of Brie or like the taste of Cranberry Sauce, then you could opt for the new Cheese and Mushroom Burger. This Burger contains the typical Cheese Sauce and also has a big Cheese slice. This comes with Tomato and quite a lot of fried Onion. Although Onion is quite a standard ingredient for a Burger, there seemed to be more Onion than Mushroom which slightly spoils the dish that is advertised. There’s nothing wrong with the Burger or the Onion but this definitely needs more Mushrooms as it goes well with the Cheese. Price: £9.99.
Hobb’s Boat have also created a new Vegetarian Burger, their new Chickpea and Spinach Burger. This may not sound that appetising and, if you’re not Vegetarian, may not be an obvious choice. But it is actually really nice. It’s not like other Vegetarian Burgers that have tended to be really dry and stodgy. This is mainly down to the fact that this Burger is topped with a Pineapple Ring and Sweet Onion Marmalade. This gives a really tangy flavour and it also looks different, being on a Pretzel Bun. The Bun has cross cut into it and looks darker than a traditional Bun. It gives a bit of a chewy texture but it actually works. As far as Vegetarian Burgers go, this is really innovative and probably one of the best tasting ones. Price: £9.99.
A dish that seems to be synonymous with the colder weather is a heart warming Beef Stew. Hobb’s Boat’s Beef Stew with a Horseradish Thyme and Parsley Dumpling is served in a Red Wine Sauce with Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes, Smoked Bacon and Mash Potato. The Dumpling is really soft and soaks up the stew nicely. The Beef is expectedly tender and really warms the cockles. If you’re looking for a roast-style dish that’s guaranteed to make you feel warmer this Winter, this will be the meal for you. Price: £12.49.
For a more traditional pub dish, Hobb’s Boat have released a Gammon Dish with a twist. Their Beechwood Smoked Gammon is served with Garlic Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Peas and an Apple Sauce with a hint of Mustard. Pork and Apple Sauce have always been partners but, despite being the same meat, Gammon isn’t really thought of being accompanied by the sauce. The Roast Potatoes and soft but thick Carrots helps to turn this pub classic into another roast-style dish , a posh Gammon if you will. So if you like your Gammon this is certainly worth trying. Price: £9.49.
Hobb’s Boat have gone all traditional by bringing back an old dessert favourite; Bread and Butter Pudding. It’s not probably an obvious choice to have at a restaurant and it may not even be the most glamorous, but Hobbs’ Boat have done a really good job of trying to revive this classic. This dessert comes with Custard and contains some Raisins to give a different texture to the soft Bread. The Bread is very sugary which makes this pudding a really no nonsense dessert that’s actually really nice. Price: £4.29.
Alongside this, Hobb’s Boat have also released their interpretation of that synonymous Winter dessert, Apple and Rhubarb Crumble. This also comes with Custard and despite the anticipation of it being quite tangy, this Crumble was really sugary which completely neutralised the sourness. Because of this, the Crumble was really enjoyable despite the Apple being chewy at times. It combines the two most famous Crumble flavours and makes another really nice dessert. Price: £4.49.
The only new dessert that we tried at the Taster Night was another classic pudding, Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s a traditional dessert and, ordered off the menu, probably very nice. Unfortunately on the Taster Night, the pudding was a little burnt which made it chewier than normal and the Custard was slightly skinned. That slightly put us off from having it but it’s not normally a dessert you can get wrong so hopefully if you were to order it from the menu it will taste like the classic pudding we all love. Price: £3.99.
For you Ice Cream lovers, Hobb’s Boat have also released a new chocolatey Sundae for us all to enjoy. The Sundae with After Eight combines Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream mixed with After Eight pieces. To make this a minty menagerie, it’s covered in Mint Syrup and topped with Cream and an After Eight Mint that serves as a wafer. Again this is another dish that’s synonymous with the Festive and colder seasons and the minty flavour oxymoronically warms in the cold Ice Cream. It’s unique to the chain restaurant world and it works really well. Price: £4.19.