Saturday 24th December, 2016 – Vibin’s, Buckingham
Back in the day we used to go to the Roade House for lunch/dinner on Christmas Eve, on the basis that I’d be doing all the cooking for the next few days and could use a day off before the big event. With the retirement of Sue and Chris Kewley, and the transition of one of our favourite venues into a deli/coffee shop (!) we needed a new place to go. An earlier visit to Vibin’s suggested it might be the answer. We booked and duly turned up with our friend A. in tow to find the place worryingly deserted considering it was a Saturday night right before Christmas (worrying in that it probably means they won’t bother in future years).
We studied the menu, had a think, and found ourselves with crab scotch eggs for two for starters. I’d had this on our previous visit and found it a bit of a mixed bag on that occassion, tasty but it didn’t quite work for whatever reason. It’s been refined – this worked very well indeed with plenty of white crab meat to give texture and flavour, and just enough of the brown meat to hold it all together.
The mustardy mayo was much better this time too, so I think there’s been a bit of a rethink and some tweaking that is all to the good, and also suggests a chef willing to admit when things aren’t quite right.
Lynne and I also shared a pigeon salad with beetroot (this was before Copenhagen left me somewhat beetrooted-out) and it too was excellent, with some tender pigeon breasts, contrasting with the sweetness of the beetroot.
We all agreed that the lamb rump was the essential main for all. It was pink in the middle as it should be, with a lovely herby crust, and served with some very simply prepared and served French beans and a massive slab of Pommes Anna, cooked to softness and seasoned nicely. Oh and a puree of potatoes too, just in case we didn’t have enough carbohydrates!
The waiting staff are lovely, and were very concerned that Lynne didn’t eat the beans. They wanted to know if there was a problem, and it took a while to reassure them that no, she never eats green beans (or much else green for that matter) and that no, it was fine, she really didn’t need any more food.
The wine list is very short, sensibly chosen to appeal to the audience you might expect, with a half dozen or so well priced reds, a similar number of whites, and nothing above £30 a bottle. We drank a Côtes du Rhône Les Combelles with it, which went down well with the rose meat.
All that was needed to complete the evening was dessert, provided anyone could manage it after the very substantial main course. A creme brulee with lavender notes was all I could possibly have forced down!
A. joined me in eating the brulee, and Lynne opted out. We went back home happy and hopeful that we now have a fairly regular restaurant that won’t break the bank on our doorstep.