It’s been quite a while since we last visited Wolski’s: it was my favourite eatery in Wakefield for a while, but went through quite a bad phase with the lunchtime ‘buffet’ being little more than left-over slops and the evening meals having so much sea-salt as to be almost inedible. However, that was a couple of years ago so last night myself and Nicky went to see what they were like now.
The first impression seems to be that it’s quiet. We turned up at 8:30pm, and had a bit of a battle getting through the front door with two smokers blocking our way and reluctant to shift to one side (we later discovered that they either worked there, or were friends with a waitress). Once inside, we ordered a gin and tonic each and browsed what was on offer.
The menu hasn’t changed much – they offer a range of nice dishes such as lobster, New Zealand mussels, and various cuts of ostrich, alongside the usual 70s-style cuisine of prawn cocktail, etc. I went for a starter of chicken liver pate followed by lobster in cream and garlic, whereas Nicky ordered duck spring rolls followed by rib-eye steak.
Once shown to the table the starters arrived, and they were very good – there was a lot of pate and not much bread to balance it out with but I understand the economies of scale in these things. A substantial amount of foliage accompanied, and I left a lot of it with the thought that if I ate it all I wouldn’t have enough room for a main course. Nicky’s duck spring rolls were stuffed full of meat – very substantial, and according to her very tasty. Good start so far.
At that point it occurred that we had no drinks, and it took a few attempts to order a bottle of wine (I must admit, if I’d forgotten to serve wine when I worked as a waiter back in the early 90s I’d have probably been disciplined!).
The main course arrived and I had feared the worst – yes the lobster was smothered in way too much sauce again, drowning out the delicate flavour of the lobster (which at least had been dressed properly). Judicious use of a knife to scrape away large dollops yielded a reasonably cleaner dish, and again piles of seasoned salad had been provided to pad the meal out. Nicky’s steak was chewy, and the large jenga chips were a bit crozzled, but otherwise OK.
For dessert I tried a raspberry creme brulee – way too heavy, and the vanilla cookie with it was surplus to requirements owing to the sheer stodge. Nicky tried a toffee crumble which was largely a pile of sweet sludge. Low points on the pudding, chaps.
In general, it’s got better – maybe they’re good at larger parties of fixed menus, just not a la carte offerings for a quite meal for two. Perhaps we just caught them on a bad night, or something – the waiting staff weren’t very attentive, and I still object to having a mandatory 10% ‘gratuity’ adding on to a bill (I’d probably have left that anyway if the service was reasonable but gratuity does not mean mandatory in my book).
Two of us on a three-courser including a bottle of wine and two G+Ts came to just short of £70 – still a bit overpriced for what it was, but it’s showing upward signs in what was once Wakefield’s premier restaurant.