Open Mon–Fri 10am–3.30pm, Sat and Sun midday–4pm, Mon–Sat 6.30pm–10.30pm, Sun 6.30pm–10pm
The Summerhouse, on the banks of the Grand Union Canal, has popped up for what are supposed to be the sunnier months of the year, April to October. The decor is a homage to American East Coast marina chic with plenty of oars, fishing rods, flotsam and sail cloth adorning the walls. Tables on the waterside are apparently highly prized although on a not-so-warm evening the view is obscured by slightly dirty, roll-up plastic windows.
The restaurant manager, Alan, was the best thing about the meal. Cheerful and helpful, he made the experience extremely pleasurable – it’s just a shame that the food didn’t live up to the service. The ‘best ever’ popcorn shrimp with sweet chilli sauce (£7) was bland and disappointing, the pieces were small and virtually tasteless. My friend’s yellow fin tuna carpaccio (£7) was passable but didn’t really tickle the taste buds either.
The mains were unfortunately no improvement, the fish pie (£13) was good but nothing outstanding for the price, again it lacked any significant flavours. The moules mariniere (£14) were really under par. The sauce was seriously deficient in the taste stakes and it takes quite a lot to ruin a mix of wine, cream and garlic.
My spirits were improved when I read the dessert menu. One of my all time favourite puddings was on the list. Iced summer berries with hot White chocolate sauce (£6) if done right is sensational and should be an unbelievable indulgence. Sadly the berries were far too cold and the sauce not nearly rich or warm enough to create the desired hot and sticky mass. The lemon tart with fresh raspberries (£6) was better but not good enough to make up for the rest of the meal.
Despite the uninspiring meal the restaurant was relatively busy for a Tuesday night with lots of groups of friends and couples enjoying themselves. It wouldn’t take much to improve the dishes that we had but, although not expensive, at these prices I expected something slightly better. With a limited opening period I hope that they discover the condiment shelf in the kitchen soon.
Dinner for two around £50.