Prévost: 20 Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1JA
Six years ago Lee Clarke set about introducing fine dining to the city of Peterborough. He opened Clarkes restaurant followed by his more recent venture Prévost. Lee’s approach was a first for the city – a fine dining restaurant, serving high quality food, in a relaxed atmosphere. I’m not saying that the area doesn’t have amazing restaurants – we have plenty. But they are often national chains, pubs (we have some amazing gastro pubs) or restaurants linked to Hotels and Country House Hotels. So this was new for the City on all fronts.
Prévost is set in a 16th-century mews in historic Priestgate (bit tricky to find if you don’t know the city centre). Prévost is led by head chef and owner Lee Clarke and his wife Theresa (front of house).
Lee’s aim is to use as many local suppliers and ingredients as possible. Prévost’s goal is to ensure that everything on your plate is meticulously sourced, made from scratch and as local as possible: beef aged by their butcher in Stilton; wild mushrooms foraged from nearby woods; artichokes picked straight from the allotment. The restaurant is relatively small with 28 covers. With an open kitchen, which can be viewed from most of the tables, you get the chance to see the chefs at work. The bar area has a comfortable, modern feel making it easy to relax for pre-dinner drinks before dining.
With seasonal ingredients and an ever-changing menu it’s easy to see why people go back regularly. Deciding what to eat is made simpler by the fact that there are only two decisions to make – normal menu or vegetarian menu and 3, 5 or 9 courses? If you have special dietary requests, with advance warning they will do their utmost to accommodate.
The food is quintessentially British but full of surprises. The hubby and I had the 5-course veggie menu and were stuffed!
We started out with an impressive assortment of amuse bouche which was truly delicious. The Quails egg on celeriac noodles was amazing. I was less fussed for the watermelon soup, however the presentation was fun.
Course one was sand carrots with goat’s cheese and seaweed – utterly delicious. The goat’s cheese was subtle and smooth both in taste and texture. The carrots were sweet with a delicious smoky flavour.
The ricotta stuffed courgette, with red pepper and olives was one of my favourite dishes and I wanted more. There were so many subtle flavours in this simple yet complex dish.
Then came the obligatory risotto. If you are vegetarian you will know what I mean, it is often a vegetarian’s nightmare. However I am happy to report that this risotto did NOT upset me, it tasted so creamy and I love love love morel mushrooms so I was in heaven. The portion size was perfect as the dish felt rich and heavy – but for all the right reasons and it was perfectly seasoned.
The risotto was cleverly followed with a cheese course. Blue Stilton cheese with walnuts, rocket and a lime sorbet. A beautiful balance of sweet and savoury with a touch of crunch, it was delicious.
The dessert was yummy but not my favourite course. I felt the lemon flavour in the posset could have been a bit more tart and stronger after such a flavoursome fourth course but I wasn’t complaining.
Having tasted Lee’s food over the last few years I felt that he had raised the bar and improved in so many ways.
The wine list is not vast however the wines have been thoughtfully picked and there are a number of high quality picks. We chose a delicious Montrachet and were not disappointed. There is also a pretty good cocktail menu and good selection of high quality spirits (Hendricks) and mixers (Fever Tree) – always a winner in my books.
The staff were attentive and chefs knowledgeable and overall service was great. You are made to feel special and if something is not right you can rest assured that between the staff and chef they would do all they can to correct it.
There is no doubt that the food at Prévost is great value for money. Change Cities and you would be paying way more for food of this standard and quality.
3 Courses – £32.50
5 Courses – £50
9 Courses – £75
There is also a Lunch for Less menu, which is three courses for £32.50 and includes mineral water, an extra large glass of wine and tea or coffee. I haven’t tried this menu out but plan to take my eldest daughter soon to sample it.
The hubby and I went on a Thursday so it was pretty quite. I can’t remember if there was music playing or not (not sure whether that is a good or bad thing?) I feel that if there wasn’t there should be and if there was it could do with turning up a little. With small number of covers I feel the atmosphere could be in danger of feeling a little too sombre especially if its not busy.
The fact that you can see the chefs cooking does help liven things up and the décor, which is clean and modern helps to make the place feel pretty relaxed. I feel weekends maybe a little different.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED?
As a big restaurant and food lover I feel that the menu, cooking standards and restaurant look and feel are all-brilliant. I do however feel that if Prevost want to hit that much coveted Michelin star then small touches to service need to be improved.
Pulling out chairs, placing napkins on laps, serving plates at the same time to the table are all small minor details that take a restaurant from being great to being amazing.
I feel the menu is great and if the vegetarian menu can continue to be as inventive as the main menu it will be impressive.
Also as a tip I feel the lunch for less menu details should be on the website alongside the wine and cocktail list. I only knew about the lunchtime menu because I had been told about it however it is not to be seen online.
I keep my fingers and toes crossed for Prévost. It is easy to see just how much love, passion and hard work have gone into making it a great restaurant with amazing menu and food.