Church Street Tavern

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

Opening Hours:

BAR
Wednesday-Thursday 9am-11pm
Friday-Saturday 9am-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

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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, 20 July 2019

Delicious meal served by super friendly staff in a lovely environment!

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Visited On Saturday, 20 July 2019

Just lovely thank you

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Visited On Thursday, 18 July 2019

I ordered a cup of coffee along with my course but it was not provided. The staff was grouped (gathered) at a corner of dining room which was far away and hidden area from my table and it was bothersome to call to remind them I was expecting an ordered coffee. Though there was a short of services, a staff looked at me strangely when I expected changes upon settling my bill

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Visited On Saturday, 06 July 2019

Very noisy in the Resturant we could not hear ourselves talk

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Visited On Saturday, 06 July 2019

Hello, i just want to say thank you to all the staff who worked that evening. I really enjoyed my birthday meal.

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Visited On Thursday, 20 June 2019

Disappointed that we couldn't have the table I pre-booked well in advance of my visit. The table was downstairs. We were asked to go upstairs instead. The menu was more extensive. I wanted to be downstairs so we had a lighter lunch but my guests were presented with the upstairs menu so I was committed to that. Food wise the food was good but please can you ease off the seasoning of salt as this dominated the dishes and particularly the fried food including chips. Thank you I have been may times before but this was the 1st time I have been disappointed. The upstairs waitress was very good. I hope I can be persuaded to come back again.

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Visited On Saturday, 15 June 2019

A super meal as usual, thank you

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Visited On Saturday, 15 June 2019

Service great, food okay- mussels could have a creamer sauce as was quite watery and wine 👌🏻

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Visited On Friday, 14 June 2019

As usual, excellent food and service. Thank you

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Visited On Wednesday, 12 June 2019

We always enjoy our visits here

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Visited On Friday, 07 June 2019

My favourite place in Colchester for atmosphere and food. Love the quirky modern eclectic decor (in both bar and restaurant), staff are friendly and the menu changes seasonally - but is always tasty!

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Visited On Saturday, 25 May 2019

Love the Church St Tavern - the best atmosphere in Colchester. Friendly staff and an excellent selection of food and drinks!

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Visited On Friday, 24 May 2019

A great experience as always, both pre drinks in the bar area down stairs and in restaurant. We always feel very welcome and at ease.

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Visited On Thursday, 23 May 2019

Excellent food

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Visited On Saturday, 18 May 2019

Another excellent meal.

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Visited On Thursday, 02 May 2019

Like the ambiance, the art - especially Sylvia Paul's clever use of merging colour, and rate The Tavern as probably best in town for spread of menu. Don't want to go on too much or might make it harder to find a table!

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Visited On Saturday, 20 April 2019

Great food. Excellent service ,and lovely decor.

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Visited On Thursday, 18 April 2019

The food and service was excellent but the ambience of the dining room left a lot to be desire. It is due for a make-over with a much more welcoming and comfortable look

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Visited On Sunday, 14 April 2019

The actual meal was fine but I find the rather unfriendly email telling us that the booking was not confirmed until I visited a website with a very long series of letters and numbers etc. in order to give my debit card details very off-putting. I would much prefer to give those details over the phone at the time of booking.

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Visited On Friday, 12 April 2019

A great value excellent meal as a pre theatre experience. Welcome was a little wobbly, possibly because our reservation was literally at opening time, but the waiting staff were very good once they got into the swing. I would have liked somewhere to put my coat.... but other than that this was a very good dining experience. Thankyou

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Visited On Friday, 12 April 2019

Lovely evening, food was very nice. Service good. Very quiet in resturant overall.

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Visited On Thursday, 11 April 2019

Lovely food.

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Visited On Saturday, 06 April 2019

We had a really delightful evening and were particularly appreciative of the fabulous service.

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Visited On Friday, 05 April 2019

An excellent evening. Food and drink was of a high quality and the service was first rate

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Visited On Friday, 05 April 2019

Wonderful food, atmosphere and customer service. We are very lucky to have such a good restaurant nearby

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