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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 Saturday, 18 November 2017

Ambiance is lively and love the quirky decor. Regular customer but disappointed in service as mix up with steaks. One Medium rare another medium well but not served to correct diner!

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Visited On Saturday, 18 November 2017

Had a really nice meal on Saturday night service was attentive without being over the top. Will definitely be coming back soon

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Visited On Sunday, 12 November 2017

Fantastic meal, with excellent friendly service in great surroundings. We will defiantly becoming regulars

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Visited On Saturday, 11 November 2017

Waitress was great,food and drink great we have been here before and will be back soon

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Visited On Sunday, 05 November 2017

First time we had been and we were very impressed with the food and presentation. We had Sunday lunch in the first floor restaurant. Would certainly go again and recommend.

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Visited On Saturday, 04 November 2017

Superb in every respect. Faultless. Lovely menu with something for everyone. Aperitifs and oysters to start. Lamb hot-pot and plaice were excellent. And indebted to member of staff who brought a forgotten bag to the cinema.

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Visited On Saturday, 04 November 2017

Really lovely relaxed lunch with old friends.

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Visited On Wednesday, 01 November 2017

Excellent will use pre theatre again thank you.

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Visited On Saturday, 28 October 2017

Church street tavern never disappoints! The food was delicious, the service was friendly, polite, considerate, not too fussy. We ordered a dessert, which sadly was not up to par at all- something was really rather wrong with it. The server was very kind and asked us why we hadn't enjoyed it. Chef agreed the dish was not right and the matter was dealt with very pleasantly. I love this restaurant and hope it features for lots of special evenings to come in my life. Colchester, like many towns, has many chain-restaurants, but we are very lucky to have Church Street Tavern.

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Visited On Saturday, 28 October 2017

Had a fabulous Saturday evening for our wedding meal. Thank you Matt and staff. Fantastic night. David and Nicola.

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Visited On Saturday, 28 October 2017

Great meal and outstanding drink selection, some good local lagers

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Visited On Thursday, 19 October 2017

I celebrated my birthday at Church Street Tavern and absolutely loved it. Firstly, the ambience was absolutely wonderful, just what I wanted for my birthday celebration. The food was unbelievably tasty and the service was exceptional. I do love my wine and I must admit the wine that we were served was great. Besides that, I believe they have THE best bloody mary in Colchester. So much love for this place.

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Visited On Friday, 20 October 2017

Fabulous food and exemplary service. Best meal out in a long time!

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Visited On Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The corkage on a Wednesday is a great idea for mid-week. Amazing steak as always. Not particularly busy so atmosphere not great.

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Visited On Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Absolutely beautiful dinner for my husbands birthday last night. Lovely venue & amazing food, perfect service. Will be recommending to everyone! Thank you CST we'll be back x

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Visited On Saturday, 07 October 2017

Love eating & drink at Church Street Tavern, seasonal cooking at its best. Staff are lovely, food is tasty, good value for money, superb wine list and amazing afters! Would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone

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Visited On Sunday, 08 October 2017

Great Sunday lunch.

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Visited On Saturday, 07 October 2017

All great, many thanks to all, see you again soon Clive & Eileen

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Visited On Friday, 06 October 2017

Lovely bar and restaurant x

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Visited On Friday, 06 October 2017

Great service, a lovely atmosphere and delicious food.

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Visited On Wednesday, 04 October 2017

Very nice

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Visited On Wednesday, 04 October 2017

Unfortunately on the Wednesday lunchtime we visited we were the only customers which seriously affected the ambience. Additionally a lack of some fish from supplier limited the menu. Fish and mussels in our curried cod were well cooked but the dish was very under spiced and not very well defined. Service was good and rest of the food was ok but not particularly memorable.

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Visited On Saturday, 30 September 2017

The waitress we had was lovely and friendly. My only gripe is I was looking forward to the crab linguine but they had run out. There was confusion with some of the meals but the waitress sorted it very well.

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Visited On Saturday, 30 September 2017

Just lovely - food and atmosphere

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Visited On Friday, 29 September 2017

Fantastic as always.

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