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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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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, 14 April 2018

Great food great drink and service was great

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Visited On Friday, 13 April 2018

Interesting venue. Great cocktail bar/lounge and good restaurant above.

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Visited On Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Fantastic as always :D

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Visited On Saturday, 07 April 2018

Great venue for a celebration meal with friends

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Visited On Saturday, 31 March 2018

We resevered an area for a private party and was really pleased with the service we received.

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Visited On Sunday, 18 March 2018

Very good Sunday lunch, including tender roast beef/potatoes, and excellent ginger pudding, all washed down with a nice Malbec. A little more veg would be greatly appreciated. Ambient atmosphere and good service

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Visited On Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Fantastic restaurant, we all had a lovely time, great customer service and yummy food!

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Visited On Sunday, 11 March 2018

Lovely beef but vegetables were raw. Everything else fine.

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Visited On Sunday, 11 March 2018

Superb mothers day meal. Inga was excellent as always.

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Visited On Saturday, 10 March 2018

Helpful staff, congenial atmosphere, good food, overall a very enjoyable time was had by all

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Visited On Saturday, 10 March 2018

My wife loved her meal, unfortunately I cannot say the same for mine. My steak was a lot more over than medium, the broccoli was raw and the side forgettable. That said, I really enjoyed my starter and the wine was good.

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Visited On Saturday, 03 March 2018

Great food, lovely place and atmosphere

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Visited On Saturday, 03 March 2018

My first visit which most certainly won't be the last. A really enjoyable experience with Mat being particularly attentive by telephoning me shortly after I had left to tell me that I had left 1/2 bottle of wine on the table (I had asked him for a screw top) which I shall be returning for on Wednesday. Thank you Stephen

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Visited On Saturday, 03 March 2018

Delicious as always

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Visited On Wednesday, 28 February 2018

We came quite a way to celebrate our son's birthday and due to the dreadful weather conditions were on the point of cancelling when we were able to get a taxi. We are so glad we did as the experience from the moment we walked in the door was lovely. Our first time here but not our family's as they have been on several occasions. Thank you.

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Visited On Saturday, 24 February 2018

Great meal cooked exactly as we asked and great service from Zoe.

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Visited On Saturday, 24 February 2018

It’s my second visit with the same group of friends and I think it’s excellent. It’s busy by the bar downstairs which makes access to the seating area tricky but I love the food upstairs and the atmosphere is good. Thank you

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Visited On Saturday, 24 February 2018

A lovely place to meet up with friends , amazing cocktails and great food. Comfy sofas to relax in afterwards with a great atmosphere. Myself and three friends spent a whole Saturday afternoon here recently.

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Visited On Sunday, 18 February 2018

Fantastic Sunday Lunch with excellent service.

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Visited On Friday, 16 February 2018

We had another great experience at CST on Friday night. The food was excellent, and as usual the service was impeccable. I hope the restaurant continues to thrive as it fully deserves to.

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Visited On Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Church St Tavern team were amazing prior to our arrival and throughout our dining experience. The food was tasty and the service was amazing. No slip ups even with a party of 15 to cater for. I would definitely recommend this place to friends

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Visited On Sunday, 11 February 2018

The only thing the 4 of us found was that the main courses were not hot and neither were the plates. Otherwise quality and taste were spot on. We had a lovey experience thank you.

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Visited On Sunday, 11 February 2018

We booked lunch for 12.15 because we were going to the theatre at 2pm. At time of booking online the website automatically informed us that the table would be required by 13.45. We therefore anticipated efficient and eager service. We were seated promptly at 12.15 in an almost empty dining area. We ordered from the short menu. Our food arrived at 13.00hrs. We enjoyed the food and were asked at 13.30 if we would like dessert. When we mentioned that we needed to leave by 13.45 we were told that we could not order anything hot and that chef likes to let the cheese breathe because it is too cold. Our bill arrived before dessert was served. £70 for a hurried Sunday lunch for 3. Not impressed.

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Visited On Sunday, 11 February 2018

Delicious as always.

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Visited On Friday, 09 February 2018

Eaten here many times and always good food, good wine and good service. Would highly recommend and I will continue to visit.

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