Last week we were very lucky to visit the newly refurbished Bills in St Albans. St. Albans is one of three specially selected Bill’s restaurants to trial a new restaurant concept alongside Covent Garden and Westfield in London.
Now what is this new concept we hear you ask, well… they have completely changed the interior of the restaurant, the St Albans one had a Morrocan French feel to it and was very chic!
There are super comfy sofas to chill and have a coffee or alcoholic beverage area. There is also an open bar which we absolutely loved. You can sit on bar stools and enjoy a drink whilst you wait for a table. There is also the option the eat at the bar or just pop in for a drink.
We actually commented to the manager that it was very like the Ivy and he then informed us that the Ivy is a sister restaurant to Bills, so that explained that one! It was funny because all through dinner we were commenting on how much like the Ivy it was.
They have also completely changed the menu and vastly improved the quality of the ingredients and overall dishes and we sure did manage to sample a number of them.
We started by ordering a drink, Annie was designated driver so opted for the tropical juice which was so delicious, I would definitely get it again especially at breakfast!
Rachel decided to have a cocktail because the cocktail menu had so much choice, she ended up choosing the English country Garden and absolutely loved it! It would have been the perfect drink to enjoy on a warm summers evening (just like the name suggests).
We didn’t know what to opt for for our starter so asked our extremely friendly and helpful waiter Mario to give us some suggestions. In the end we actually went with all 3 of his suggestions and shared them. We had the crab & avocado toast, beetroot, goats cheese arancini and the warm cheese dip with toasted focaccia.
The crab & avocado toast with chilli and spicy mayo was very light and a good starter for the summer, it was toasted sourdough topped with a large lettuce leaf which was then topped with crab and smashed avo.
The arancini was simply amazing, the starter comes with 4 balls (so we had 2 each) and the balls sat in the most delicious purple basil and pine nut pesto sauce and there was a light sprinkling of Parmesan. The mixture of flavours were perfect. The sauce was so delicious that we even dipped our focaccia in it! However we tried not to do that too much as we needed to save our bread to dip into the cheesiest cheese fondu ever, it was a cheese lovers dream and we were in cheese heaven!
For main it was SO hard to decide what to choose and we both wanted everything on the menu, in the end we picked 2 dishes and shared. We opted for the Bills’s steak and rarebit pie and the ancient grain bowl which we added chicken to. Mario our waiter told us that the ancient grain bowl is his favourite and he always recommends it to his guests. The manager recommended the pie to us and oh my are we glad he did!
The pie was in a shortcrust pastry and was topped with cheese. It came with a gravy jug and was served with root veg mash and greens. We are so glad we shared it because it was MASSIVE, this dish is definitely excellent value for money. The steak was tender and well cooked, the pastry was perfect and the cheese topping finished the dish of nicely, and not to mention the gravy we poured on top too (que a gravy boomerang)!
For the ancient grain bowl we opted for the extra chicken to be added and we asked for the purple basil and coconut yoghurt to be on the side (we had never had coconut yoghurt before and didn’t know what to expect) – we shouldn’t have worried about the yoghurt though as it was delicious. This dish was packed full of flavours and we would most certainly have this again, you can have it on its own or add chicken or halloumi to it, maybe we will have halloumi next time!
Next time we return we will definitely try the vegan Wellington as the manager recommended it to us.
For dessert again we shared, it’s very very good that we both like very similar foods (minus Rachel not being the biggest fan of nuts, but we make it work!) so it makes sharing food easy and means neither gets food envy and we get to try more dishes!
Both the manager and our waiter suggested we had the sticky toffee pudding so of course we just HAD to go for it! It was the most delicious sticky toffee pudding ever, it melted in your mouth and the sauce was perfect. It was served with the creamiest ice cream too. We honestly would return to Bills purely to have the sticky toffee pudding!
We also chose the hot chocolate brownie which is gluten free. We love that Bills has so many options for all dietary requirements and means someone who follows a gluten free diet can still enjoy a very very tasty dessert as the brownie was epic.
Bills actually have an entire allergies menu making sure they are as inclusive as they can be. There is nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant and the only think you can eat on the menu is a salad or steamed veg.
We had to make sure we did a toilet review whilst we were there because is it really a Two Brits review if we don’t? We absolutely loved the way the stair case had been decorated it was really beautiful. Toilets were clean and definitely up to scratch PHEW!
We has the most incredible evening at Bills and we will definitely be returning soon! The food was delicious and the service was impeccable, nothing could have improved our experience we give it a solid 10/10.