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Return fare please 

Taisteal is Gaelic for journey and ours began bumpy. Public transport had let me down. I was late and Mr Bite was not best pleased. He's pretty critical too and our evening was in the balance and somewhat dependent on an oblivious, innocent chef, Gordon Craig 

His nibs started with the Singapore squid and a challenge; ‘I've only ever had it done well in Greece where they just scare it with some fire’. It arrived jumbled up with inky risotto in an earthenware bowl as turquoise as the Aegean and Mr Bite's demeanour rose like the sun ‘this is great’! A morsel was proffered, it was moist, tender and sweet. 

The squid also embraced Thailand with for example aromatic lemongrass, flavours that were replicated in my starter of Thai red curry fish soup. Hot, sweet, salty and spicy with lots of crispy veg bunged in. 

Two pretty plates of food arrived as our mains and Mr Bite was a happy man as he tucked into plentiful slices of pink duck with a crunch of edame beans, an artistic smear of caramel butternut squash and minced shitake mushroom samosa. 

I had a firm roast fillet of hake with pickled slices of kohlrabi and baked chunks of the same root. Crumbled walnuts went particularly well with the hake, the fat of the nuts complementing the buttery flavour of the fish. Fresh delicate crab and creamed leeks completed this tasty offering. 

Richard Craig gives equal attention to texture, presentation and flavour in these carefully crafted and cleverly devised dishes – the skill is evident as is a love of and nod to the Orient.

I was a bit worried about the ' lycheesecake' but what materialised was a thick moussy dessert with delicate floral flavour. Mr Bite is not a fan of ice cream but his honey version (mine was stem ginger) was homemade and came melting as opposed to rock hard. He loved it and his aromatic lemongrass parfait bookended our meal with a wave back to my Thai soup starter. 

As the last two plates for the evening were shamelessly scraped, balance and harmony had been fully restored, no marriage counselling needed. (S. Wilson) 


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