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Church Street Tavern

3 Church Street, Colchester, United Kingdom, CO1 1NF
Critics Review 4/5
Restaurant info
Opening Information

Opening Hours:

Bar
Wednesday-Thursday 11am-11pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-12am
Sunday 11am-5pm

Kitchen
Lunch
Wednesday-Friday 12-2.30pm
Saturday-Sunday 12-3pm
Dinner
Wednesday-Thursday 5.30pm-9.30pm
Friday-Saturday 5.30pm-10pm

Facilities
  • Disabled Access
  • Private Dining
  • Families and Children Welcome
  • Gluten Free Available
  • Business Lunch
  • Outside Seating Area
  • Free WiFi

About Church Street Tavern

A great place to meet up, have fun and be well looked after. Ground floor bar serving craft beer, eclectic wine, cocktails, tea and coffee. First flour restaurant serving seasonal food from an ever changing menu. Quick light lunches, rare breed steak, private dining and events.

Cuisine: British, Afternoon Tea, Sunday Lunch
Dress Code: Casual,Smart Casual

Availability

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Avios will be awarded within 14 days from dining.
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Critics Review
Review by Tracey Macleod for Independent
4/5
When is a pub not a pub? Last week, I had two very different lunch experiences, at opposite ends of the spectrum of modern pubbery. The first was in a new place in London's West End – I won't name it, because I'm a kind person. An ordinary little pub, stripped of any last vestige of comfort or conviviality, and now operating as a kushiyaki bar. You know, a kushiyaki bar? Like in Japan, where they serve skewers of grilled meat to salarymen on the lash. Only this was about as Japanese as pork scratchings; a dismal shell of a room combining the worst aspects of old-man's pub and chilly Japanese café, where I perched on a tall stool to eat nondescript bits of grilled and deep-fried flesh, and – God help me – tempura avocado. In its striving, on-trend way, it was every bit as grim and unforgiving as city-centre pubs used to be, before they invented the gastropub and we could all sit with a fish pie and a glass of merlot. So that's one direction a pub can go in, and good luck to them: A3 licences in the overheated London market are hard to come by, and there are shoals of ambitious young chefs eager to go it alone and do unforgivable things to avocados. Another new direction is to style yourself a 'tavern'; not in the old sense of a roadhouse serving foaming tankards and beef to trenchermen, but in the modern sense, which is basically 'restaurant'. That's how they've done it at the Church Street Tavern in Colchester, an Essex town which has yet to challenge Ludlow in the gastronomic stakes. Now this is a pub to spend some time in. A handsome, big-boned townhouse just off the main shopping drag which combines the warmth and hospitality of the traditional tavern with the serious cooking chops of the Tavern 2.0. Arriving late and discombobulated for a mid-week lunch, after an unfortunate misunderstanding about a disabled parking permit, my mother and I were welcomed, and – in a sun-filled, spacious upstairs dining room beautifully decorated with objets trouvé and groovy – very well fed. Tiny spoonfuls of chicken liver parfait arrived unannounced with springy herb bread. Then a shivery, irresistible pot of parmesan custard, to be scooped up with delicate wands of anchovy toast. Chickpea fritters appeared as a ladies-who-lunch take on falafel, with pomegranate-sprinkled whipped ricotta standing in for hummus, and some kind of grassy oil to be mopped up with the crisp, spinachy puffs. The menu is huge, and apart from the safe haven of various cuts of steak, ambitious. A brace of Norfolk quail get the dirty treatment, exuberantly spiced, spatchcocked and chargrilled, leaving the skin deeply flavoured with salt and smoke, the flesh sweetly pink. With them, nutty, veg-studded pearl barley and a sultry blast of black cabbage and hazelnut pesto. Partnering subtle skate with equally soft and pale gnocchi was brave, but the dish was hot-wired by purple sprouting broccoli humming with tarragon and punchy little brown shrimps. Only my starter of rabbit pie flopped; sweetly spiced like Moroccan pastilla, it was swaddled in an over-dense pastry which temporarily silenced my half of the debate about the missing parking permit. A side of Jansson's temptation, an anchovy-kissed swoon of potato, cream, cheese and garlic, reconciled my mother to a dish she had spurned since the early Sixties, when a Swedish friend's dinner party went horribly wrong. The short selection of puddings includes rhubarb and custard with orange and polenta shortcake, a dish which perfectly reflects the CST's brand of trad comfort with a twist. Bravo to whoever designed this dream of confident good taste, the sober scheme of wood floors, leather banquettes and foxed mirrors quirked up with sculptural driftwood and flurries of vintage china. The lounge bar downstairs, where every seat is a deep armchair or sofa, rather than a bony high stool, is equally beguiling. This is a place put together by someone who knows exactly what they're doing. That someone is Piers Baker, whose Sun Inn in the Essex village of Dedham I enthused about when it opened 11 years ago. "The instinct for hospitality behind the Sun is positively Continental," I wrote then. "Everything's just a little bit better than it needs to be." The same is true, in spades, of the Tavern, which Baker opened a year ago, installing a young team from the Sun, including head chef Ewan Naylon. Despite appearances, the building was converted from an estate agents rather than an existing hostelry. Which goes to show that while it's all too easy to convert a pub into something dreary, it takes time, good taste and talent to make a dreary building into a wonderful pub.
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Visited On Wednesday, 12 December 2018

We were well looked after by the team at the Church Street Tavern. This was a group event to celebrate the end of term for our French group.

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Visited On Thursday, 06 December 2018

We were here for our office Christmas meal - we had our own area, the food was lovely, the service was very good and we would definitely come back. Thank you very much!

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Visited On Friday, 07 December 2018

Excellent dining experience

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Visited On Friday, 30 November 2018

Slow service but very nice waitress

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Visited On Saturday, 24 November 2018

Another amazing meal at Church St Tavern. The food and drink are always a pot on and the staff are always friendly and quick with service.

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Visited On Saturday, 24 November 2018

Better than ever

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Visited On Sunday, 11 November 2018

A faultless Sunday roast in wonderful surroundings and always so professionally looked after by the staff.

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Visited On Saturday, 10 November 2018

Myself and 11 others dined at the restaurant on Saturday 10th November I had rung the restaurant numerous times to add more people onto the booking and each time my request wasn't a problem The food was absolutely superb, everybody thoroughly enjoyed their meals on Saturday night The service was brilliant, really helpful and very attentive to our needs We all loved our evening and will be coming back soonest

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Visited On Wednesday, 07 November 2018

Really enjoyed our visit. Food and service great. Very pleasant meal before the theatre.

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Visited On Thursday, 08 November 2018

Enjoyable and stylish environment. Fiod and service always good

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Visited On Friday, 02 November 2018

Excellent lunchtime meal. Superb service -could not faut it or the food.

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Visited On Friday, 02 November 2018

Eat here fairly regularly. Would like to see the menu change more often. Waiters could have greater knowledge of wine. Sometimes a little lacking in atmosphere if seated in the front dining room.

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Visited On Friday, 02 November 2018

Friendly welcome. Good feel. Food good.

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Visited On Thursday, 01 November 2018

So pleased that tables can be booked from 5.30. Really excellent meal + trendy decor..

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Visited On Saturday, 27 October 2018

We had a really lovely evening on Saturday, food and service as per usual was fantastic!

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Visited On Saturday, 27 October 2018

MY GINGER BEARDED WAITER SURPASSED ALL EXPECTATIONS! WONDERFUL HOST AND RECOMMENDED A MARVELLOUS WINE! MERCI MATTHIEU

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Visited On Saturday, 27 October 2018

Delicious food in a great venue.

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Visited On Friday, 26 October 2018

We cannot thank you enough for the time taken in addressing our dietary needs. Just amazing service! We always love the food and the atmosphere at the Church street tavern. We would highly recommend a visit here to anyone!

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Visited On Thursday, 25 October 2018

The best place to eat in Essex, no question. Staff are always friendly and attentive, the atmosphere feels lovely regardless if you’re the only ones there on an early dinner or if you’re there late into the night when it’s heaving.

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Visited On Saturday, 20 October 2018

Very nice meal. Capable and pleasant staff

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Visited On Saturday, 13 October 2018

I really liked the food and the ambience, but I do feel that the service is rather slow - seeing that there were only 3 tables occupied including our table in our room, and 2 tables in the accompanying room! We arrived at 12.35 pm for lunch but did not finish until 2.20 pm! Also the luncheon coffee was £2.50 ... rather expensive for a small cup! It was all delicious though and thank you!

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Visited On Friday, 12 October 2018

The food was delicious. The service was welcoming, friendly and very efficient. I would definitely recommend this venue for dinner pre theatre.

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Visited On Thursday, 11 October 2018

Such a gorgeous meal, wonderful service & beautiful surroundings, absolutely faultless, thank you so much

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Visited On Saturday, 06 October 2018

Loved the new menu. Food great as usual, will certainly be back again.

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Visited On Sunday, 30 September 2018

Food and service excellent as always. Will always come back to CST and bring friends/family when they come to visit.

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