Eat My Words: We review No1 Kitchen in Castle Street, Stamford
Many people have rules when it comes to food.
It could be that you think different foods should not be allowed to touch on a plate or that meals must only be served in your favourite dish with a specific knife and fork. Or your meal must contain a specific amount of protein. Maybe you avoid meat or are strictly against processed foods.
My rule when it comes to food, is that meals need balance, with the right ratio of colour (usually from fruit and veggies) to beige and browns.
But you wouldn’t know that if you saw my order at No1 Kitchen in Stamford.
The restaurant in Castle Street has long been one of my favourites so when it was time for an overdue catch up with a friend it was the obvious choice for dinner and drinks.
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I’ve never known a restaurant that serves such great food to be so empty on a Friday night.
When we arrived we pondered whether the empty restaurant was open (sometimes it closes for private parties) and during our dinner just a couple of other parties walked in.
But why? The vibes are always immaculate with popular tunes playing in the background, the decor is bright and swanky, and it has stellar reviews on TripAdvisor and Google.
For drinks we opted for Aperol spritz and pornstar martinis, making the most of the two-for-one deal.
The cocktails are always spot on at No1 Kitchen and don’t cost an arm and a leg, unlike other drinking spots in the town.
After a quick courtesy glance over the menu, we decided we would be getting our usual - five sharing plates known as ‘appeteasers’.
As the friendly waitress came to take our order we recited off by heart: “Cheesy garlic bread, loaded nachos, chicken strips, halloumi fries and potato skins.”
Also on the menu under the ‘appeteasers’ section are brie wedges, the leaning tower (fresh tomato and mozzarella drizzled with pesto and olive oil), popcorn squid and mushroom dippers.
You may call us boring for always choosing the same thing but it’s basically picky bits - what’s not to love?
The first dish to hit the table was the nachos which came out in a sizzling pan atop a wooden board.
Nachos - one of my favourite foods ever - are such an easy dish to make and yet so many chefs get them wrong by skimping on the cheese and the dips. So many times I’ve been left disappointed by a sad plate of tortilla chips with a few strands of cheese and splodges of sour cream and guacamole which looked like they had been accidentally dropped on.
But not these.
With each nacho there was a satisfying cheese pull and the dish was practically swimming in dip.
When first brought out the crisps were perfectly crunchy, although by the end of the meal they had become somewhat soggy under all of the sauce.
The rest of the dishes came out on one big mouth-watering platter.
A few leaves of rocket and a sprinkling of herbs added a slight pop of colour, but I’ll admit the board was very beige. However, for one delicious meal I was willing to break my own rules.
The cheesy garlic bread was better than I remembered.
The soft bread was smothered with a mild melted cheese and oozing with flavour.
Crispy halloumi fries, which were arranged in a stack next to a pot of sweet chilli sauce, were cooked to a golden-brown perfection.
The Southern fried chicken strips paired with a spicy Cajun mayo were chef’s kiss with the perfect balance of flavours.
Finally, the bacon and cheese filled potato skins topped with chorizo and served with spicy mayo. The potatoes were soft and fluffy, with a slight crunch on top from the grilled cheese. Personally, I wouldn’t have paired them with a spicy mayo as the flavours were strong enough on their own.
Although four out of five dishes included cheese in some shape or form it surprisingly did not feel too cheesy. The flavours were all so varied.
The platter was plenty for the two of us, with just a few crumbs left on the board as it headed back to the kitchen.
The food was so good that it definitely lives up to its name of being a number one kitchen.
We were too stuffed to contemplate dessert so requested the bill which came with a sweet for each of us - a nice touch.
Out of five:
Food: A platter of food which makes me hungry just thinking about it. Delicious and comforting - the perfect combination! *****
Drink: You cannot go wrong with a cocktail at No1 Kitchen. I would say they are the best value for money in Stamford and I would definitely visit again for just drinks *****
Decor: The quirky decor felt hip and cool with neon decorations and cheeky signs. ****
Staff: Staff were polite and service was quick and efficient. We weren’t kept waiting. *****
Price: The bill, including the food and cocktails, came to £56 which is more than fair. The appeteasers are £6.95 each or five for £30. I felt as full as I would if I had a starter and a main course so at £15 each we definitely got our money’s worth. ****
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