If, like me, you have never before considered Tithebarn Street as a destination for dinner, I urge you to try The James Monro. Revamped as a Pub and Dining Room in 2008, it is a hidden gem in the business district, just a short walk from the centre of town.
Judging the fine public house’s exterior, you would not guess that such a romantic setting lies inside. Popular music played at a pleasant volume, miniature palm trees, a candle lit on each dark wood table, and several private booths just for two (unfortunately situated next to the toilets, but you can’t have everything.)
This historic pub holds a variety of quality real ales to enjoy as you peruse the evening A La Carte Menu, providing a wealth of choice in starters ideal for sharing. We opted for the Mediterranean Platter. Buffalo Mozzarella, Sun-blushed Tomato, Olives, Homous and Tzatziki dips, and bread. Greek dips are a firm favourite of mine, and while these were a little on the bland side, the olives and tomatoes were delicious, with just enough bread to whet your appetite for the main course.
The posh ‘surf and turf’ option was irresistible. An 8oz Fillet Steak with Cajun Spiced Tiger Prawns, served with chorizo&leek confit and garlic butter, was a hungry carnivore’s dream. Juicy prawns and succulent steak combined with tiny chunks of spicy chorizo sausage caused an explosion of flavours on the tongue. Ruined only slightly in that the entire dish was swimming in garlic butter, and the meal would have been perfection without it.
Our waiting staff were friendly and attentive throughout, accommodating our request for a side portion of onion rings – which I thoroughly recommend. The batter, fresh and tinged with herbs, provided an exceedingly tasty side dish which I usually avoid in favour of chips.
My partner’s slowly braised Lamb Shank served with Mash was delicious, meat falling easily from the bone, drizzled in a hearty gravy. Served with a side order of vegetables including char-grilled asparagus spears, beetroot and red cabbage. Unusual choices and a true treat for the tastebuds.
The James Monro prides itself on its rustic dishes, sourcing meat from a local butchers, as well as gathering all vegetables from various nearby markets. And the menu reflects tastes to suit all diners, best of British combined with European influences and several impressive vegetarian options available in Roast Fennel and Wild Mushroom Lasagne and Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto.
Generous portions left us very nearly over-faced, yet we found room to share the enticing pudding Lemon and Ginger spice Cheesecake with a Ginger Nut Biscuit base. It was just too tempting. Accompanied by a delicious real-fruit strawberry and blackberry jelly, it was simply to-die-for.
The James Monro is open for business for Lunch and Brunch, with 2 courses on offer at a bargain price of £8.95, or you can take advantage of the “Early Doors” menu before 7pm each evening with two courses just £11.95.
And, every Monday, a very special offer – mouthwatering T-Bone Steaks and giant onion rings are 2 for 1 (£27.50)
To book yourself a table please visit www.thejamesmonro.com or call 0151 236 9700. Opening times: Monday-Saturday 12:00 – 14:30, 17:00 – 21:30, Sunday 13:00 – 18:30
You could also try sister pub “The Monro” located on Duke Street, by visiting www.themonro.com or calling 0151 707 9933.